Have you ever wondered how couples make long distance relationships work? I have heard so many stories about how they fall apart and I have seen first hand the effect that they have on people. I've learnt that it is nowhere near easy to keep it going. You are split across the world, time differences, work distractions, friend and family obligations, and about a million other obstacles are thrown into the mix as well. Along with all of this, how the heck do you maintain your love across the planet?
We have been at this long distance game for eight and a half months and I don't know if we have figured it out yet, but we have definitely learnt a lot. We have put a short list together of things that make distance a little easier and we hope that it helps those of you going through the same thing. Share in the comments other useful habits that help you guys with long distance.
God is the glue that binds us and without Him none of this would work. It is important to us that we make that clear, first and foremost. We have realized that patience and kindness are the most critical elements in maintaining any relationship and that most relationship issues can be broken down into two things: Misunderstandings and Selfishness. So here are 10 things that you can do to avoid these potholes and keep your long distance relationship healthy.
1: Make the time to talk.
Even if there is a time difference, you are tired, have a runny nose and have stubbed your toe. Make the time to hear each others voices, even if its just to say goodnight. Voice note each other where ever possible, its much more realistic than a text conversation, its good to hear your persons voice at least once a day.
It's easy to get down and feel sorry for yourself about the fact that you have to be apart, so we always try to remind ourselves that we are so lucky to live when we do. We don't have to wait a month, maybe two months, for a written letter to arrive by ship because we can WhatsApp call each other any time of the day and it's instant. Video calls are an even better option. If you have fast enough internet, video call is the way forward. Video seems to let the conversation go as realistically as possible, and seeing the other person warms your soul again.
2: Share things that interest you.
It is so important to do this as it makes you feel like you are part of the other persons day in a way that is a little more tangible. It also allows the other person to know that you are thinking of them and want to share things with them. Whether it's a link, lyrics to a song, an article, a Bible verse or a photo, it doesn't matter, share these things with them and share things that remind you of them. Remember to share your life, you are still connected even though you can't touch.
3: Laugh together.
A sense of humour can work wonders when life gets a little too serious. Things will never always go your way and it is important to make the most of the situation anyway. Have as positive an outlook as you can during these times, add a little humour and you will be surprised how well it works, not only for you, but more importantly for your significant other.
4: Make plans for when you next see each other.
Planning for the future helps to focus your mind and gives you something to hang onto through the rougher days. Being able to count down the days also really helps. Try to at least have a rough date even if it's not a plane ticket home. It also helps you to use your time efficiently when you are together. You won't waste as much time vacillating on what to do, but will rather have a list of things you have been planning to do together.
5: Don't hold back.
When it comes to showing the other person that you love them and care for them, enough is never enough. You can always love more and give more. This is a fundamental point of loving someone and it also teaches you to love selflessly. This means you both give 100% of yourself and put in 100% effort, its easy to think that each of us only needs to give 50% and the other will give 50%, but for the relationship to make it through the tough times you need to dig deep. Always remember to put your person's needs before your own. Showing someone you love them doesn't mean showing them in a way of materials such as buying each other things. Showing that you love the person is as easy as listening when they talk or holding their hand. It is in these simple, and seemingly insignificant actions that the depth of love really speaks. Remember that.
6: Always be honest.
This is a slightly more tricky point and is to be wielded carefully. Firstly, always remember that your words and motives can do a lot of damage so always think about the reason that you are saying something and try to think about how it is going to effect your significant other. If something hurts, upsets, or concerns you, it is best to talk about it ASAP, (this goes for guys and ladies), because if you don't, resentment starts to set in and this causes a host of other issues, so rather just be truthful. In the same way, also try and understand where your significant other is coming from when they are being honest with you. Healthy honesty needs a safe environment in order to flourish and you both need to know that when you are being honest, you are safe and loved even if what you are going to say may hurt.
7: Be there for each other.
Be ready for midnight calls when she has had a bad dream. Read into the WhatsApp messages for the emotion behind them, understand the situation and give as much support as you can. This is probably the most painful thing in long distance, a hug is far away and your ability to comfort is sorely limited.
8: Make memories.
This is something for when you are apart. It is really important to have something to look back on and remember the times you have had together. It also allows you to feel close to each other and bound by something you experienced together. Take pictures to remember these moments and make as many memories as you can.
10: Pray together.
This is without a doubt the most important thing we have shared and learnt to do together. Keeping God at the centre of your relationship is the foundation that will not only keep your relationship together, but also keep it healthy. We were designed to live in a relationship with God and our lives will never be complete unless that is how we live. It is how we need to live both as individuals and as a couple. When you are centred on the Lord you can rest, knowing that He has got you and He will never let you go.
- C & H