Begin Marriage Right
Years ago, Ana met Mr. Wonderful, a travelling salesman. They fell in love but he had to keep travelling with his job. To remind her of his constant love, he wrote her letters—one each day, in fact. The postman would supply them to her door each morning and she would snatch the letter out of his arm, impatient to see what her love had written. Mr. Wonderful continued writing for many months. And the following year, Ana married—the postman.
My aunt told me a story like this many years ago and it’s always stuck with me—and made me leery of long-distance relationships. But, lo and behold, I soon found myself in a long-distance relationship. There was just no getting around the distance.
Because of our global society, long-distance relationships are becoming more and more prevalent. But they aren’t all destined to fail like Ana’s. In fact, with the right treating, a long-distance relationship can be a positive practice that results in a lasting relationship.
My friend, for example, met her spouse at a wedding. He was stationed in Texas and she was living in Florida. They corresponded by texting, calling, and skyping, and they visited in-person every few months. Six months later they were engaged, and eleven months later they were cheerfully married. When they returned to base after their honeymoon, it was the very first time they had lived in the same city. Having a cross-country relationship wasn’t effortless, but they made it work. And so can you!
Here are some keys to keeping your relationship strong when you’re apart:
In order to flourish, long-distance relationships must be intentional and defined. There is nothing worse than being in a relationship and fearing that he/she will leave behind you and dump you for someone local. Reassure your gf of your commitment by making him a priority. Share with her why you love her and let her know that you miss her.
No, I don’t mean the wedding! Always attempt to set the date of your next visit as soon as possible, so when you say “goodbye” you’ll know when you’re going to see each other again. It gives you a tangible date to look forward to and makes it lighter to be apart. Setting a date far in advance also helps you arrange your activities/work schedule around that person’s visit. For example, when my bf would visit, I put all my commitments “on hold” if I could. Since we would only have a few days together, I desired to make the most of every minute.
When you’re in different time zones, one person may be eating dinner when the other one is getting ready for bed. Or one will call at six a.m. for a little “chat” because it’s already nine a.m. in their time. This can get old quickly—especially if you’re not a morning person. My beau and I learned to calculate the distance and also created a Gmail calendar with our weekly schedules that we could lightly reference from our email accounts. We scheduled “talking dates” several times a week so we could talk without interruption. Scheduling “talking dates” indeed helped us communicate more effectively. Without them, we played phone tag for hours or ended up talking when one of us was half asleep. We quickly discovered that 1:00 a.m. conversations are not exactly quality time.
Believe it or not, there are things to be grateful for regarding long-distance relationships. One of the largest highlights is that, because of the distance, you have to talk. Many times dating/courting revolves around activities, like dinner, movies, family gatherings, and church events. But long distance doesn’t give you that luxury; you have nothing to do but talk. As a result, you will not only learn a lot about the person and how she thinks, but also about how to communicate effectively with her. So, rather than dwelling on the negative, take a minute to think of something you are grateful for.
Do things together when apart.
You don’t have to be sitting side by side to love experiencing something together. My best friend and her bf observed an entire golf tournament together one weekend. They made it joy by “betting” on who would win. The loser had to bake the winner brownies and express mail them. With Skype, the possibilities are endless. You can see a movie, listen to music, and even eat dinner together—just be sure to keep your computer at a safe distance from your meal!
When you eventually do have the chance to be together, be careful. Both of you will have a lot of pent-up emotions. Make sure that you don’t let hormones get the best of you. Plead beforehand and, as a safeguard, meet in well-populated areas. Stay accountable by remaining in settings that include family and friends. It may take more work and planning, but recall the old telling, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Send thoughtful packages.
E-cards, e-mails, and texts are wonderful, but there is just something special about holding a tangible bounty from the one you love. It doesn’t have to be expensive; it just has to be a thoughtful object from you. For example, for his graduation, I made my bf a giant candy gram; he arranged to have flowers delivered on my bday. T-shirts, homemade cards, tucked animals, baked goods… Send them something, and you’ll be sure to make his day—and week!
Learn about your beau/girlfriend’s interests.
- Makes you feel connected to her
- Provides another topic of discussion
- Gives you a fresh activity to do together
- Builds a deeper sense of appreciation for her hobby/work
Build the spiritual side of your relationship.
As a Christian, God should be the center of your relationship. Whether you’ve been together two weeks or two years, it’s never too early to embark building each other up in the Lord. You may not be able to attend church or Bible studies together, but you can do a Bible examine on your own using either the phone or e-mail. You can also listen to sermons online and discuss them. One of the things I treasure is the prayer routine my bf and I established. It began when we were separate coasts and proceeds today. Every night we end our phone conversations with prayer, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that bliss. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians Four:Two).