Maple Alps

romantic relationships

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.


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 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 in a different post!


 


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


 
 

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps11 Comments

With Valentine’s Day over and boxed heart candy at 75% off, I have caught myself giving a little sigh. You see, I just love Valentine’s Day (VD). It’s something about the pink and hearts everywhere that makes it impossible for me to be mad at anyone, reminds me of how much I am loved (and love!) and allows me to embrace my inner “girl.” Though I’ve never done anything extra special on February 14, I have always thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere it provides.

When my husband and I first started dating, he made some remark about every day being Valentine’s Day with him. While he was saying it somewhat lightly, there was definitely truth to his statement. Why should a day (regardless of the history and background of it) predominantly celebrating love, be the only day we think about sharing with those we care about how much we love them? It just doesn’t seem right.

If you, like me, are feeling a little sad that the holiday has passed us by already, you can hold your chin up a little higher. Some of my blogging friends have helped me out with a fun project to share with all of you some great ideas to keep the VD feelings all year long!
 

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day + Free Printable | www.maplealps.com

We can make every day "Valentine's Day" by performing little acts of kindness for the people around us that we love: our spouses, friends, neighbours, and families. We can serve them, meet their needs, and show them just how much we love them!
- Abbey of Small Town Soul

We can make every day Valentine's Day by remembering why we love in the first place and being intentional! I love Jim Elliot's quote - "Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God." So in daily life, whether I'm spending time with someone or doing something, I strive to focus on them (instead of checking my phone, wondering what to say in response, going for efficiency over caring) and love them to the best of my ability, depending on God's grace to help me best love and serve them/perform the task at hand!
- Jessica of Duly Noted Ink

Have a quiet moment together like seeing the sunrise or sunset, viewing the ocean, sitting on a hill and embracing earth's natural beauty together or even sitting in front of a fireplace with some hot chocolate. Just being around each other is something wonderful.
- Martika of Coffee Time With Him

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day | www.maplealps.com

When our girls were 4 and 6 we started a new tradition for Valentine's Day. I set out 4 boxes, one for each family member. I had paper, pens, pink and white doilies, and lots of stickers available. Each person got to write out qualities they liked in each family member, things they appreciated, and favourite memories. It was to be a secret. On Valentine's we took turns reading them out loud. Because of their ages, they needed lots of coaching, memory jogging, and help writing/typing. They are 27 and 25 and we still do this, though sometimes it's through cards or texts throughout the day. It's really a skill I wanted to encourage--to find things we love about each other and what makes the other person feel loved.
- Terri from Terri Fullerton

I make every day Valentines Day by learning my hubby's love language and making sure I'm using it!
-Susannah from Simple Moments Stick

I'm such a weirdo but, I don't care much about Valentine's Day. It's sorta man-made and regimented. For years, I've told my husband to love me throughout the year and he can just go "light" on Valentine's Day. My love language is gifts so he sends flowers often, buys me things, surprises me with gifts all year. So I kinda feel like every day is Valentine's Day. Should he ever slack, then I might put more emphasis on that one day in February. 
- Teri of Godsy Girl

It's not something I do all the time, but every now and then I will make dinner for my kids (before an early bedtime) and then make dinner for my husband and myself after the kids go to bed. I'm also known for making treats and snacks for after the kids go to bed. Truffles anyone?
- Erin from Momma's Living Room

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day | www.maplealps.com

By writing little "love notes" filled with words of appreciation for our loved ones on a regular basis. You never know how much a kind note might mean to someone.
- Rachel from The Random Writings

We need to know how we are loved. I like to leave notes for my family that tell them I love you because . . . . your are brave, kind, considerate etc and then tell them how I saw that in them.
- Kim from Day to Day Adventures

My boyfriend texts me every morning "Good Morning Beautiful!" which puts a smile on my face and starts my day off right. 
- Pamela from Bible Geek Lifestyle

We can make every day Valentine's Day by constantly pushing ourselves to serve our spouse. Valentine's Day is great because we all seem to want to make our significant other happier. What if they had a hard day at work and it wasn't Valentine's Day? The probably need our love and support more at that time.
- Courtney from Happy Little Shopping Secret

I would say to make everyday Valentine's day we could ask ourselves, "How can I make today a little bit brighter or easier for my spouse?" It could be by doing something simple or leaving them a little note or just taking an extra minute to tell them how much you love and appreciate them.
- Kaitlyn from Lily and Mama

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day | www.maplealps.com

We can make every day Valentine's day by having quick morning cuddles before starting the day! I love resting on my husband's chest and kissing him on the cheek with his arm around me! It's sweet and simple. Just a little way to say "I just woke up, and you're on my mind!"
- Elizabeth  from Wanderlust + Heart

From a relationship standpoint, I think making a conscious effort to do something nice for or compliment someone you care about can make each day Valentine's Day for you and that other person. From a personal standpoint, taking a few minutes each day to reflect on your life and give yourself a nice little pamper session, pep talk, or general treat can make each day Valentine's Day for you.
- Jessi from Roses in Ink

It might seem over simple ... But ... To make every day like Valentines, touch your spouse. A loving caress - a neck rub, a hand placed gently on a forearm, "footsie" under the table, a kiss on the cheek, etc. As husband and wife, we can be together all day and never touch. It happens all too easily - especially if we have children to nurture.
- Lori from Encourage Your Spouse

Meet your spouse's love language
- Audrey of Life with Little People

 

How would you make every day Valentine's Day? Let me know in the comments below!


 
 

One Year of Marriage.

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps24 Comments

Guys! I can absolutely not believe that just a year ago today I married my best friend! The year went by so fast that I was scared to blink at times.  Time is a strange thing.

Almost everyone told me the first year of marriage is the hardest. While I am not sure if I've found that to be true (the transition was strangely smooth and natural for us), there were definitely some adjustments that needed to be made when joining my life with J's. If you were around six months ago for my recap on six months of marriage, you'll know that I had already done a lot of thinking about these things. Today, I invite you to see what's changed - or stayed the same - after another six.

One Year of Marriage | www.maplealps.com

In marriage, you share everything but your toothbrush

And even that may not be true. Mix-ups, confusion, and emergencies do happen...Oh, and when your spouse makes the most disgusted face ever when he realizes he's grabbed your toothbrush instead of his, try not to take it tooooooo personally ;)

The first year of marriage doesn't have to be hard.

Yes, there are adjustments that could be difficult, but approaching marriage intentionally and with open communication and a humble attitude will make these much more manageable. Make good habits that will stick for life now.

Marriage won't fix your personal problems.

Need I say more? You're not going to be suddenly selfless or never spend another wasted cent after you say, "I do." You may even still struggle with other things. Marriage is not a fix-all for personal issues. Continue growing in grace. 

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Everyone has an opinion on your marriage and advice for it.

All you have to do is smile, nod and say, "Thank you for sharing." Then, really think about it. Don't be too proud to listen if it is really sound advice - even if it hurts. If it's completely ridiculous and uncalled for, still smile, nod, and say, "Thank you for sharing." THEN RUN AWAY!

Don't Assume...

...I'll let you finish that one ;-)

Appreciate Eachother

Taking each other for granted is not a good thing. Appreciate one another - and let the other know how much you appreciate them - and why! Thoughtfulness goes a long way.

Live-in accountability is usually a good thing

Until that morning you literally get dragged you out of bed to work out ... But no one regrets a good work out, right? But seriously, having someone right there to keep you accountable in different areas of your life is amazing. Plus, being and having a personal cheerleader is a fantastic.

Everything I learned in the first six months still applies today.

You can head over here to read what I learned in six months as a refresher if you read it already, or for something new if you haven't. It turns out love is still a decision, prayer is still necessary, and cuddling is still a challenge. Go figure.


Marriage is grand, but as with every aspect of life, it needs to be approached intentionally for the greatest success. I'm still learning that myself. 

What about you? Any marriage tips for a newlywed?

PS: We'll be celebrating today, so be sure to follow along on SnapChat and Instagram (@MapleAlps)

 
 

Women of Intention Week Three: Intentional Marriage & [Romantic] Relationships

Women of Intention, RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps6 Comments

Welcome to week three of the series, Women of Intention! Over the next fifteen weeks, Maple Alps will feature a woman who will talk about intentionality in specific areas in her life. We are all so glad you've decided to stop by! For more information, and a list of topics, visit our introduction post HERE

Women of Intention Week Three: Intentional Marriages & Romantic Relationships

This week's Intentional Woman:

Today, we are talking with the one and only Toya Carter of Mrs. Toya Carter

She has a wealth of knowledge, holding a Master's in counseling and 10 years of experience, and I'm so glad she was more than willing to talk with us today!

Once you're done reading, be sure to not only check out her blog, but share your thoughts (and if you want, the post too!).

Find Toya on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.


Women of Intention

Tell us a bit about yourself: What are you passions, work and interests?

Hi, I am Toya, a wife, mom, therapist, coach, blogger, author, and speaker. I wear many hats. I am passionate about relationships, mental health, and self-care. I am a relationship and empowerment coach specializing in helping women to walk and live in their purpose while still excelling in their romantic relationships.

 

Among other things on your blog, you talk about marriage. What would you say are some practical ways in which we can be intentional in marriage?

First it starts with wanting a great marriage. When you decide you want a great marriage doing the work to make your marriage great feels less like a chore, and more like a choice. Then I suggest thinking about what you can do to improve in your marriage right now. Is it more communication, sex, money? Whatever it is I would start there and work to make improvements daily. For example, if it is sex incorporate sex into your week on purpose. If it is communication make it a point to have a conversation with your husband uninterrupted to simply check in and see how he is doing or how you can support him. At my house we “go dark for dinner.” This means no phones or other technology while we are having dinner. You would be surprised how much more you have to say when you are not staring in your phone. The best thing you can do is figure out what you are lacking and work diligently to improve it.

Maple Alps; Women of Intention: Intentional Romantic Relationships

What do you tell your clients who are not being intentional in their romantic relationships? 

We have to be intentional with our relationships, because being intentional dictates our behaviour. For example if I only want to be your friend I am not going to approach or interact with you like I would if I wanted to be romantically involved with you. This is a hard concept for some people to grasp. They think it makes you sound too calculated, or as if you are manipulative. I disagree. Being intentional in your relationships allows you to save time. If you do not see a relationship going anywhere, platonic or otherwise, do not waste your time. Time is a commodity you can never get back.

If we thought of all our past relationships that did not work, I am sure we saw signs. Signs that he/she just wasn’t the one. This doesn’t mean they were bad people it means they were not for us. I tell my single clients all the time to date a person who wants what they want. If the ultimate goal is to get married, dating an emotionally unavailable man, or a man who has told you he does not want to get married is a waste of time. Instead intentionally date a man who is seeking a wife.

 

How would you say being intentional in your marriage has benefited you and your husband personally?

The intimacy, physical and otherwise, is better. I feel like we are more in tuned with one another because we work at it. We know we are blessed to have each other so we take care of one another.

What would you say to encourage someone who is struggling with intentionality in this area of their life?

I would say to first pray about it. Then get really clear about what it is that you are struggling with. To combat a problem, you have to know what it is. For example, if you are feeling disconnected from your husband work daily to get the connection back. A couple of options are increase text messages throughout the day, or go on a date somewhere he will enjoy. Set the intention to have an outstanding marriage and then make it happen. Write down what an outstanding marriage looks like to you and work toward it daily. Writing it down makes it real, and it can help with clarity. 


What about you? Are you intentional about your marriage? Why don't you tell us about it in the comments, or connect with us on social media?

(Don't forget to use the hashtag #WomenOfIntention16 so no one misses it!)