Zee Says: Like any working couple, MDJ and I have very busy schedules. We both have demanding jobs that occupy an incredible amount of time. Some couples survive seeing each other once a week (or sometimes not at all!) but that’s not something we can do. Kudos to couples in long distance relationships who keep things strong.
But we believe that it’s important to have coping mechanisms for when we can’t be together. Thanks to technology, it’s so much easier to keep the happiness going.
Zee: I’m glad we have so much fun spending time together. I guess we’re clingy in a good way. We like knowing what each other is up to, and how the other is feeling. We love telling each other what’s going on throughout our day.
We even tell each other what we had for lunch, sometimes with pictures. It just makes a busy, tiring day better. Nothing beats a silly conversation to balance off a toxic day.
MDJ: Especially when the conversation in question comes with full audio-visual support. Although it’s a bit stressful having to go through a quick grooming session before chatting with you, I won’t lie. Can’t risk the relationship going sour over a few stray nose hairs!
Zee: Because we love each other’s company, we exert a lot of effort to communicate and synchronize. Otherwise, we would both get too caught up with our careers and personal activities.
MDJ: Technology is a tremendous help, and here are some of the most useful things we use to accomplish our Four Sacred C’s of Relationship Management (or, as we call it, “Relationships For Geeks”): Coordination, Communication, Consolidation, and Commemoration.
1. Coordination: Google Calendar
We synchronize our personal and work schedules with each other via our shared Google Calendar. We know when we can bug one another and when not to at all hours of the day, without having to actively ask. .
We especially love how it automatically syncs with our Samsung GALAXY Notes, so we’re always up to date. We remind each other of personal obligations. I guess you could say we treat our relationship in a very professional manner.
A typical conversation:
MDJ: “Have you synced our Google Calendar? We have to attend a children’s party at 10 o’ clock, vet appointment at 3, then we have dinner reservations at 6.”
Zee: “Heads up, I have to do a work presentation at 1 o’ clock.”
MDJ: “We slide the vet appointment to 4 o’ clock then.”
Zee: “Got it.”
Some people find it odd, but it works for us. Because as we put it, “If it’s not on Google Calendar, it’s not official!”
2. Communication: ChatOn Instant Messaging
We absolutely love ChatOn. It saves us thousands of pesos a month on SMS charges since we message each other so much – it’s absolutely free, works on all major platforms – even desktop! – and is the single best justification for unlimited mobile internet.
And this is relatively shallow, but we’re firm believers in the power of smileys to shape the tone of a conversation.There’s a world of difference between IM-ing someone “You’re crazy” versus “You’re crazy :)” ChatOn has THE absolutely funnest range of smileys ever. There are THIRTEEN different degrees of happiness, for example. You know, just like in real life.
We literally email each other 3-page play-by-play novellas on how our day went if we don’t get to talk. We email things to make each other smile, like a ridiculous new dance craze, disaster reports involving the yaya, or cute puppy photos.
But it really isn’t the content that matters. It’s the intent that makes us smile when we receive each other’s email – hey, I miss you, I’m thinking of you.
4. Commemoration: Shared projects
We do so many projects together, from social outreach, video competitions, diets, and even this blog! We love brainstorming, planning, and just putting our all into it.
Equally fun is the work we put into commemorating everything through a neat little online package to make sure memories never fade.
A kitchen experiment on cooking crabs goes slightly awry? We blog it. Zee’s little girl demands that MDJ pass a 10-part “Are You Perfect For Mom?” test before proposing marriage? We blog it too. Jessica Soho invites us for a TV feature on how we met through Twitter? There’s a blog post for that as well!
We entertain each other so much, even getting stranded for an hour on a stalled pumpboat in the middle of the ocean becomes an adventure we find worth documenting.
Capturing memorable moments in our shared blog helps us process and find even more meaning in what we share. We can keep coming back to special memories time and time again. Whoever does our wedding video will have the easiest job in the world – we’re obsessive about documenting everything, so finding source material will be easy-peasy. And the shared effort, and the little laughs and jokes we discover along the way help brings us even closer together.
MDJ: Technology can’t replace intimacy. But it’s been incredibly useful in helping grow our relationship and avoid potential little hiccups. Some say it’s geeky how we integrate it so much into how we do things, but gosh – it just makes things so much smoother.
Zee: Your relationship status might be saying “It’s complicated.” But with the clever use of technology here and there, it doesn’t have to be that way. Embrace it. It’s awesome. And it’s here to stay.