Edward Freeman from Killeen, Texas, is a finalist in the Dear GMA Advice Guru Contest. Read his response to a viewer-submitted question below!
Question from Jane in Ann Arbor, Mich.:"After nearly a year long search, my husband found a job in his field in Chicago - 5 hour train ride away. I work in Ann Arbor and maintain the household here. When he comes home, it seems there is so much catch-up work to do, we spend the whole weekend on repairs, chores, bills, etc. Exhausted, it is all we can do to prepare a good meal before falling asleep. By the time we can think about romance, it is time for him to head back to Chicago. Since our finances are still recovering and living separately has additional cost, our disposable funds are limited and prohibit hiring the repairs and eating meals out, We need some strategies to retain intimacy."
You and your husband are dealing with a reality that a lot of Americans are facing these days. I believe the answer to your situation is one of logistics; the two of you are going to have to balance the elements in your lives.
For starters intimacy has multiple facets, only one of which is physical. Most of intimacy begins in the head, so you both need to be of the mindset that keeps the two of you connected and engaged even when you are apart, so spend time talking to each other via phone, email, twitter, etc. and when you working on those household projects remember this is time together as well. As for spending all of your weekend's knee deep in construction or accounting matters, try this. Set a cut off time for the house work and finances and give yourselves three to four hours of personal time each day and on that evening before he has to back to work and no, the work won't all get done but the work will never be finished anyway so stop and enjoy each other and the progress you are making on your home.
Also, why don't the two of you stay in Chicago for a weekend every once in a while? If you have two residences, take advantage of it. Hook up in Chicago and spend time away from the projects and bills and just focus on the two of you and since money is an issues, cook at home and maybe go out for dessert or coffee. Just remember, the focus on these get-a-way weekends is the two of you not work or bills.
I grew up in Chicago, and it is a wonderful city full of exciting things to do and places to go many for little or no cost. The lake, Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain and Navy Pier are just a few of the places you can go for free and do nothing but be together. Also, plan a big night out in the city maybe a concert and dinner; plan it months in advance to ease any financial stress and give you something to look forward to. This keeps things fresh and when you're home, plan a work party with a few friends this could help you complete projects faster and take some of the drudgery out of the work.
Now, remember Jane, for as long as you own a home there will be repairs, replacements and remodeling to be done, so settle down and settle in for the long haul. Besides what makes a house a home is not the furnishings but the people and the love they share inside it.