A while ago, I wrote about the truth (according to me) of long distance relationships (LDR). For a while after that, I got a few emails asking for some practical tips to making LDRs work. Since I can’t really speak for anyone else, I decided to share my personal experience and the things that helped us stay [mostly] sane during our season of long distance. It really can work out! J and I were 7000km and 8 time zones apart. Actually, both sets of our parents also spent time doing long distance in the era of no Skype! Maybe it runs in our blood?
I’m sharing some things that will help your long distance relationship be successful!
The whole goal of our relationship from the very beginning was marriage, and because it was a mindset of ours, long distance, though annoying, wasn’t too terrible a thing.
THIS IS KEY! And something I personally had to work on (and still am….). Because you’re so far away and can’t see each other, being able to communicate and express yourselves is important. Bonus: when all you can do is talk and communicate, you get to know each other so, so well.
Do Things “Together”
Well into our relationship, the most irritating thing to me was the feeling that we were both living separate lives. When we talked, we would just fill each other in on things we had done that day and talk about things we were going to do with others, etc. It was pretty depressing at times. We decided to start doing more things “together.” You can get creative with this, but some ideas are reading the same book or working on a project together. A friend and I used to stream shows at the same time while skyping. I’ve even studied and skyped. It was like having the person in the room - just not.
Never underestimate the power of snail mail. Seriously. I love putting together packages and mailing cards. I also love receiving said things. Chances are, you do too - and so will your significant other!
See Each Other as Often as Possible
It can be hard to see each other, especially when you are far apart and wallets aren’t very full. But make the effort to do it as much as you can. Plan your next visits; make bucket lists of things to do and eat while you’re together. And countdown to make it extra exciting.
Not seeing each other for long periods of time and then suddenly getting a large dose is sometimes like letting a candy-deprived kid loose in a candy store - it could end up with a tummy ache and a lot of regret. Avoid these after effects by setting boundaries and holding each other accountable for them. Maintaining purity can be hard sometimes, but not impossible. Set boundaries so you can honor each other and ultimately God.
We’ve celebrated birthdays and anniversaries over skype. Light a candle and blow it out. Send a CD with instructions. Send flowers from the local flower shop. The ideas are endless!
Prioritize Your Relationship
Need I say more? You will get out what you put in. If you want your relationship to work, don’t constantly put it on the backburner. If you don’t intentionally approach your relationships, they won’t be beneficial to you or the other party. This does not only apply to long distance relationships, or even romantic ones, by the way! Cultivating relationships is what makes them last!
Have God as the Center
We can’t truly love the way God loves, if His love is not in us. Having God at the center of your relationship is key.