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Relationships

The Perks of a Long Distance Relationship

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I know, I know, long distance is supposed to be horrid and painful and lame. Oh, and it never works, right? Well, I might disagree a tiny tad. Though terribly annoying and inconvenient, I personally loved being in a long distance relationship! It strengthened our relationship and allowed us to work on areas in our lives that would not have had to be refined had we been in the same place. People think I’m nuts, but it’s true.

Today, I’m sharing some of the perks of being in a long distance relationship. Because, sometimes, once in a while between the long periods of time not seeing the person you love, you need a positive outlook.

Positives of a long distance relationship | www.maplealps.com

Know Each Other Well

You will be forced to talk a LOT since you are so far away from each other. Whether you choose to talk on the phone, FaceTime, or send old school snail mail, you will learn a lot about each other!

Work on Communication Skills

Know how I said I didn’t like talking in this post? I also hate conflict. I had a lot to learn when it came to communicating effectively. A long distance relationship helped me work on and cultivate my communication skills, though, I’m still working on them!

Opportunities to See Different Places

I love traveling. And having a European boyfriend was pretty much the dream back in the day. What girl doesn’t want a surprise trip to Prague, summer in Italy and Christmas in New York City? Actually, to be honest, I never really thought about those things beforehand, but it was pretty darn awesome when it happened. I loved being able to see different places! Which brings me to...

Know How You Travel Together

Do you travel well with your significant other? We found out that we are great at road trips! And traveling together in general. We likely wouldn’t have been able to have the amount of traveling had we lived in the same place - even though we do both love traveling and exploring. Being forced to go places just to see each other paid off - though it does tend to deflate wallets!

 

What about you? What are some perks of a long distance relationship you’ve experienced?


 

Making Long Distance Relationships Work

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

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!

Are Long Distance Relationships Successful? | www.maplealps.com

Set Goals

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.

Communication

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.

Snail Mail

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.

Set Boundaries

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.

Get creative

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.

 

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting into an Intercultural Relationship

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps2 Comments

Interracial and intercultural relationships are becoming more and more normal these days with the world opening up as a global world. Growing up, I had interracial parents from very different backgrounds, and so it didn’t seem strange when my husband and I got together and have been making it work.

I decided that in honor of Loving Day, I would share a few things that I wish I knew before getting into an intercultural relationship.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting into an Intercultural Relationship | www.maplealps.com


One.
Knowing your spouse’s mother tongue will help so much in understanding where they are coming from. Language is deeply connected with culture and understanding that what might be a literally translated idiom from one tongue could be an insult to another could possibly be the prevention of World War Three in your home. Trust me. There have been so many times where one of of has had to say (kindly, of course), “Well I know in [your language] you say [this], but in [my language] it can be taken as [this].” On the other hand, if you know each other so well and are switching between languages in your home, it’s easy to forget to mention this, and you end up offending someone outside of your home. But that is another story, heh.



Two. Your living possibilities suddenly expand. I mean, yes, you can always live wherever you want in the world, but once you marry someone from a different country, the process usually becomes a tad easier. While we live in a country where neither of us are from, we have some strange kind of peace of mind that we have options in case something happens.



Three. Travel becomes special. You develop a love for your spouse’s country and it becomes a second home for you. You have people from all over the world to visit. It also becomes extra special when you get to explore new countries and cultures with each other!



Four. Your culinary tastes will expand. Chances are that your spouse’s culture eats differently than yours! This could, of course, be good or bad. But if you’re an adventurous eater like I am, then it definitely is a good thing. I enjoy learning how to make specialties from my husband’s country, and I love sharing favourites from mine with him! When we go to international markets, we are like little kids running up and down the aisles and drop far too much money to share these special indulgences with each other.



Five. Your home has its own culture. While your past plays a part in how your home culture turns out, it’s important to focus on making it yours - together. That may mean taking things you love about one culture and omitting things that are not as desirable. Focusing on building your own family is important, rather than trying to hold on selfishly to one way or another. Compromise is good, but blending is even better!

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting into an Intercultural Relationship | www.maplealps.com

Six. Home is where the heart is. While it may be hard to leave family behind (a possibility when marrying someone from a different country), it is an adventure to start a new one. When so far away from those you grew up with and who are near and dear to your heart, you learn to lean on God and your spouse to get you through that. Sometimes you only have each other and that is okay.



Seven. There are still people out there who disagree with interracial marriages, but that doesn’t have to get you down. Just because people might automatically assume certain things, doesn’t mean your relationship is not valid. These situations can be great when turned into teaching moments. Certain comments may hurt, but learn to let them slide. Everyone is at a different level of understanding, and some people might not even know that they are being offensive.



Eight. Humans are humans. Humans are very different, and yet very similar. Even though we might have different physical appearances or cultural backgrounds, we all have similar needs and longings, but just various ways of expressing them.




Nine. Communication style varies across cultures, but it’s important nonetheless. Any relationship, romantic or not, depends on communication. Understanding where the other person is coming from and how certain things are communicated is important. It will also help you avoid a lot of unnecessary hurt due to misunderstandings. Communicate, communicate, communicate! And yes, it is much easier said than done sometimes.

Ten. True love is unconditional. I think I’ll leave it at that for now.


Are you or anyone you know in an intercultural or interracial relationship? Tell me about it in the comments below!


 

The Crucial Element in a Long Distance Relationship

Ask Amanda, RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment
The Crucial Element in a Long Distance Relationship | www.maplealps.com

 

Question: What was the crucial element that helped your long distance relationship?


I guess quite a few of you must be in long distance relationships, because I get this question quite often. In a globalized world, I suppose dating or even being married long distance is getting more common.


Let’s see…


My husband and I spent 3 years in a long distance relationship before getting engaged. With the Atlantic Ocean between us, it did not always make it easy (or affordable for students - which we were at the time) to spend time with each other in person. We calculated it the other day, and the time spent face-to-face during that time added up to between 7 and 8 months. While that is not a lot, we did talk almost every day.


Modern technology is fantastic for that and allowed us to stay in almost constant communication (as constant as an 8-hour time difference can allow for anyway…). If it wasn’t letter writing and emails, we could text and video chat - something our parents were not able to do in their own long distance relationships!


Did I mention that even our parents did the same crazy thing? Must be genetic.


Anyhow, despite a large time difference, insane cultural differences, and the fact that we were on different continents, it all still somehow worked out.


To answer your question, there were several factors that affected our successful (in my eyes) long distance relationship. I actually wrote a blog post about it a while ago called, “The Three C’s of Long Distance Dating.” You’ll have to visit to find out what those C’s are and to find some really fun ideas for your own long distance relationship.


But really it all boiled down to intentionality.


I know I use that word a lot, and it’s the theme of this entire website, but it really is true.


Intentionality was the one crucial element that helped our long distance relationship. We chose to make it work, which made every element something we intentionally thought about. Before we even started dating, we knew we were in it for the goal of marriage - and if that didn’t happen, that was okay. But we didn’t see the point of even going through such an ordeal without a goal in mind. What good would that have been?


We intentionally talked about core values with each other, but most importantly, we really tried to intentionally keep our relationship a God-centered one.


Practically, we had to be sure we were reaching out to each other and that the limited time we had to talk was used wisely and we were not distracted with other things. I’m not even kidding when I say that we often created agendas as if we were entering a board meeting before talking. That way we didn’t forget what we needed to share or talk about. There were several resources we used and developed to guide our conversations as well.


All of this is not to say that we have stopped being intentional in our relationship now that we are married - not at all! It’s just that intentionality in our relationship looks a tad different now that we are married.

But more on that dynamic in a different post!


 


Have you been in/are you in a long distance relationship? What was the crucial element that helped you?


 
 

Mother's Day

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps9 Comments

I know that Mother's Day is coming up this weekend and it is always so touching to see Mother's Day posts from friends who pay tribute to their mothers every year. I debated putting together a post, and in the end, since I think all mothers should be celebrated all year long, I finally decided to put up this post to start off the festivities.

I know that Mother's Day is hard for some, so I wanted to keep it simple this year and just share ten pieces of advice a few of my friends sent to me! 

Best Mother's Day Advice

"When you are facing a fork in the road, can't make up your mind and both paths are good then just follow your heart. You are not going to pick the wrong one" Beth Mayberry

 

"Pray first and ask for God's help and guidance. Prayer should not be our last resort." Jacquelyn Van Sant

 

"Always wear a hat. Your baby face + skin will thank you when you're 40." Aubry Lybbert

 

"Be all you can be!" Hanha Hobson

 

"A couple weeks after my wedding I was going over the things I would’ve done differently or thought out more thoroughly. My mom stopped me, mid-sentence, and said “Would you change who you married? Cause that’s all that matters.” I lost my mom not two months later and that thought has stuck with me ever since." Caley Gonyea

 

"The best time to look for a job is when you have one." Candice

 

"One of my favorite pieces of advice from my mom (and there are many) is financial. When I first went out on my own, my mom told me to choose a dollar amount (e.g. $100, $250 or $500) and make that my "zero" in my checking account. That way, if I ever had an emergency, I would always have that buffer, that safety net." Jacquelyn Van Sant

 

"My mother was a woman of God that inspired and challenged me to pursue him as well. She leaves behind pages from her bibles with notes of biblically sound truths. Looking through her bibles, I often think she was one of the original "bible journalers" out there. I often reflect on her words of wisdom each week since she [passed away] in November 2017. I've learned many lessons from her one of which is to fully trust God instead of worrying. I'm a person that can sometimes be full of worry instead of basking in the fullness of God's peace and assurance. My mother pointed me to many scriptures to get me back on track when I would tell her all the things that troubled or stressed me. Stress does nothing for us and my mom reminded me of this all the time. She would sometimes say "Danielle, don't you know that God is up there?" I'm reminded of Romans 8:28 when I think of her encouragement, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." This Mother's Day I remember her for her strength to raise me and opening up our home to several foster children. She and my dad who is also no longer on earth had a big heart for children. God blessed me to have them as they adopted me at birth. While it's heartbreaking that they are gone, I'm thankful for the wisdom that I've gained from my mom for 30 years and my dad for 15 years. My mom's wisdom inspires me to continue to grow and teach other young women in the same way." Danielle Wallace

 

"A good [peice of advice she gave me] is wear your coat!" 5th grader

 

"The best advice my mom gave me is if somebody is fighting with you just walk away." 5th grader

 

What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?