In general, we do not recommend married couples stay separate for long periods of time, whether for studies, or for other personal life choices.

We must take very seriously the warning of the apostle Paul who instructs spouses in his first letter to the Corinthians (7:5), "Do not deprive each other (sexually) except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

Why? It is a matter of spiritual, emotional as well as sexual protection.

However, in some cases, one’s profession can cause strain on a couple by requiring regular and prolonged absences, sometimes for several months. This is often the case for those in the military who are deployed abroad, members of law enforcement agencies, seafarers, employees required to stay for prolonged periods on, for example, an offshore oil rig, in a factory, or elsewhere.

In such cases, how do we address our physical desires for each other?

Yes, it is possible during these times to live without having sexual intimacy, but sexual desires will arise during the separation. These desires are natural and in no way sinful.

It is therefore essential,before your separation, to have an honest and open conversation. You absolutely must decide together what will be acceptable or not. It is important to not have any constraints during this conversation. Invite the Holy Spirit into the dialogue, He wants to bless you!

Speak transparently about the possibility of sexual exchange between the two of you via texts, emails, phone calls, etc. There’s even the possibility of intimate moments through private video conferences.

Always respect what your spouse considers acceptable because your body belongs to him/her! "The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife." (1 Corinthians 7:4)

God will help both of you live through these moments of separation and your homecoming will only be sweeter!