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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?


 
 

The Three C's of Long Distance Dating

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps5 Comments

Last year I wrote on the truth about long distance relationships. I talked about some key things to remember when being so far away from loved ones and we concluded that while long distance relationships were hard, they were a good thing too.

Since that post, I received numerous messages from readers asking me to write more on the topic of long distance, but especially in dating relationships. Today, I answer these concerns and will share 3 Cs for surviving a long distance relationship.

Spending pretty much 3 out of 3 years of my now husband and I’s dating relationship with the ocean between us gave us plenty of time to get good at long distance. We, of course, failed at times to keep it smooth sailing, but now that we look back on everything we went through, we are happy for the trials. The hardships made our relationship stronger, and we are grateful.

Without further ado: The Three C’s of LDRs.

The Three C's of Long Distance Dating | www.maplealps.com

 

 

1) Communication

 

If there is one thing you take from this post, take this one. Communication is a very important part of a successful relationship - long distance or not! Since you do not have the privilege of seeing each other every day, it is important to learn how to communicate. In these days, we might consider texts and messages and snaps “communication,” but let me venture to say that these many avenues are not always the best way to communicate. Carve out time in the week to talk “face-to-face” via Skype or FaceTime. Call each other if you’re in the same country (or have a great phone plan). Write heartfelt letters and emails and share your thoughts and talk about your day - even the mundane stuff. It's crazy, but even if you didn’t experience a day or event with your significant other, you will still be able to relate later when they retell it to someone else because you were kind of "there" when it happened. 

 

2) Creativity

 

Make it fun! Think care packages, fun apps, surprise visits and creative from-a-distance dates. These are all things that couples who are always near each other can’t do! I mean, no one in their right mind would have a movie marathon virtually when they’re 2 streets away - right? That’s just crazy. I remember one time I showed up for J’s 25th birthday to surprise him. I spent a couple hundred dollars and travelled 15 hours to another continent just to see him turn white like he had seen a ghost and be in shock for the next 3 hours, but it was totally worth it.

Here are a few things to get your creativity going:

  • Birthday care packages

  • Surprise visits

  • Schedule times to pray together (or for each other)

  • Download fun Apps (we used one called Couple. They even have a "thumb kiss" feature! So fun, we still use it.)

  • Read the same book within the same time frame (read it together, or read it apart and discuss it later!)

  • Watch a movie together (you can even mute each other and just have each other's faces on a screen)

  • Eat dinner together (cook the same meal and eat at a table together via Skype)

  • Keep each other accountable for exercising, etc (the Runtastic app let's you cheer on your friends as they're out and about)

  • Have a scrapbook you take turns keeping and exchanging when you visit or in the mail

  • Remember (or make) important dates/anniversaries and celebrate them

3) Commitment

 

Being all in is the only way to make a long distance relationship work. Remember that love is a decision. There will be days when you don’t want to talk to the other person. There will be times of frustration and hurt. There might even be feelings of envy and suspicion, but remember your commitment, and trust theirs.

 

See? Long distance doesn’t have to be so hard. Just remember that communication, creativity and commitment are key.

 

Are you/Have you been in a long distance relationship? How did you make it through? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below!


 
 

The Truth About Long Distance Relationships

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps14 Comments

I don't know that I’m a master of long distance relationships, but the truth of it is, I’ve been in all sorts of them for years. I went to school abroad, which means my family was always a long distance away (not to mention my close friends) and I dated an Austrian long distance for 3 years (which ended, thankfully, in marriage! Bam! Didn’t see that one coming, did you?). After that, we moved to a place where none of our family or close childhood friends live. So, long distance relationships are kind of my life.

I’ve been meaning to write about this for some time (even before Maple Alps was born), and after several different requests, I’ve finally decided to sit down and write out a few thoughts. Later, I’ll post some practical ways to deal with long distance relationships, but today, I wanted to share the things Long Distance taught and solidified in me.

Note: In today’s post, when I address long distance, I will be talking about all sorts of relationships - not exclusively dating ones. But don’t worry, we’ll get to those ;-)

The Truth About Long Distance Relationships

Communication is Much More than Words

You have probably heard that communication is only 7% verbal (a 'fact' being questioned), but the main point is, regardless of the numbers, communication is more nonverbal than verbal. I'm not dismissing a good letter or phone call (both important means of communicating long distance), but thankfully, we now have Skype and FaceTime.

 

Be Thankful for the Season You Are In

There were times when it was frustrating that I could not just drive a few minutes and be at the door of someone I knew well. But I learned to be thankful for the season I was in and embraced it! Taking time to meet new people, make new friends and explore my borders was worth it

 

Be Independent and Be You

It was kind of shocking to find myself in a place where none of my family history or current associations were known. I didn’t have anyone’s preconceived ideas of who or what I should be based on where I was from, and was able to really find who I was in the Lord. When you don’t have your friends, family or significant other around as a crutch, you have to just be...you (gasp!). I mean, who else will you be? Some lose their sense of identity, but instead of letting this happen, why not take advantage of it and find out who you are? I struggled with this for a short time, but I soon found a sense of freedom. Now that I've established myself as an individual, I have no problem just being me.

 

Things Change When You're Away

Things are never as you left them. Siblings grow taller and more mature, parents sprout a few more grey hairs, grandparents slow down, and friends make new friends. People move. People die. People give birth. When I realized that not all changes were pleasant, and hardly any of them were expected, it helped to remember that I had changed a lot too.

 

We Are All in a Long Distance Relationship

With the one who loves us the most. With our Creator, Redeemer and Best Friend. This was one of the things that hit me the hardest while going through this process. I always wondered how I could have such a close relationship with someone I never saw, and it wasn’t until I moved away from those I love that I understood. God loves us so much and wants a real relationship with us! The effort that goes into maintaining my other [long distance] relationships should be dim in comparison with the efforts with Him. The one thing that's different about this relationship, though, is that He never is actually far away. 

 

So the truth about long distance relationships is basically that they're awful and awesome at the same time. Then again, everything is what you make it. That is to say: you get out what you put in!

What about you? Are you, or have you been, in a long distance relationship? What did you learn?