Several of the couples Eric and I work with each year are in long distance relationships. After hearing their stories, I am convinced that long distance relationships can work – but not only that – they can thrive! Those couples who do survive the challenges of being apart are committed, determined, and able to see past the pain of today and embrace the promise of tomorrow. (Sometimes I wax-poetic. ~smile~)
If I set my mind to it, I could probably think of a dozen reasons why long distance couples can be thankful for their atypical relationships; but, today I will stick with three. Have you considered how the distance between you and your sweetie may actually be blessing your relationship?
- You Have A Prime Opportunity to Communicate Deeply. Couples who see each other often can quickly replace heart-to-heart communication with physical affection, unknowingly shortchanging their relationship. When you are not able to bond through physical touch, which at times can seem excruciating, you are more likely to talk. Talk about your days, talk about your jobs, talk about your dreams, talk about your pasts, talk about everything! Eric and I have never been in an indefinite long-distance relationship, but the few summer months we spent apart was one of the best seasons for our relationship. We looked so forward to talking each night. We discussed everything and got to know one another very well. Though I ached to be near him, I would not trade that time of growth for a few more hugs and dates. It was a firm foundation we needed to move forward!
- You Know Your Relationship is Based on Something Greater than Physical Attraction and Affection. Strictly physical relationships can last for a while via distance, but those who come to the party for the warm-fuzzies and physical pleasures will not stay in a long distance relationship for long. If you and your sweetie can handle the stress of being apart and find ways to make your relationship stronger, then you know your connection is based on more than footsie and goodnight kisses. Long distance couples have a prime opportunity to test their relationship and to see if it is about more than a good time and sweet talk. If it stands the test of time, it can withstand other challenges too! And, if you can trust your sweetie’s faithfulness across the country, you can probably trust his or her fidelity once you are married and in close proximity.
- You Can Think for Yourselves, Problem Solve, and Delay Gratification – All Traits that Will Serve You Well in Your Future Marriage. When you and your sweetie live in different towns, states, or countries, you cannot rely on each other to take care of daily inconveniences. You can seek each other’s advice, but your boyfriend in Tulsa cannot just drive over to your Seattle apartment and change your tire. When you have issues, you have to figure them out. I love having Eric to lean on in marriage, but it is also important that I know how to think on my feet and handle situations when he cannot be here. Those who do not live near their sweethearts have opportunities to learn self-sufficiency. Additionally, couples who live apart have to learn to appreciate the time they have together, and patiently wait for the next visit. When couples who are used to being away from each other get married, they are not as likely to fall apart when work, school, or other life circumstances temporarily separate them. A lady at my church found out with only a few hours’ notice that her husband had to fly out on business for an entire month! I would’ve been beside myself! However, she took it in stride. She and her husband had spent several years in a long distance relationship, so they were primed and ready for such an event! ~smile~
If you are in a long distance relationship with a quality man or woman, I would challenge you to re-think your perspective. If you think the distance is harming your connection, consider how the miles between you may be preparing you for the future.
Not all long distance relationships will last, and that’s also okay. However, if you are willing to put in the effort to keep your bond strong, you may find that you and your sweetie are even better prepared for marriage than your couple friends who have never been apart.
If you are in a long distance relationship, or if you and your sweetie are trying to decide if it’s time to get engaged, check out our pre-engagement counseling services. We would love to work with you too!
How have the miles between you and your sweetie been a blessing to your relationship?
(If you like the item in the picture for this post, you can find it in this Etsy shop. Note: we are not at all affiliated with this Etsy seller.)