Over our years of dating, this handsome fellow and I have had several bouts of long distancing, including this summer. These periods of time in our relationship aren't necessarily the easiest or most fun but completely worth it based on the incredible opportunities we have each been called to that unfortunately draw us apart physically.
While we have been fantastically blessed the past three years to attend college together, a season at camp, a once in a lifetime internship opportunity, a foreign mission trip, a full time job requiring much traveling, and other opportunities like such have taught us much about presence and the power of it both near and far apart.
We by now means are experts, in fact we fail miserably quite often, and there are many other couples out there, including some of our best friends, who have been at it longer than we have but here are some of tips and what we have found most helpful for combating the long distance blues.
One: Prayer. This may go without saying but I put this as number one because it is so important for any relationship, let alone a long distance one. The power of prayer is incomparable and Jacob and I have experienced it first hand especially in times of distance. Not only have I found prayer for our relationship comforting but praying for Jake also draws me closer to him spiritually and emotionally when we can't grow together physically.
Two: Share Individual Experiences. One of the hardest parts for me about being away from someone I love deeply is experiencing situations together or sharing moments with them. Something Jacob and I learned real quickly after three months apart with no communication was how important it was to process and share some of our individual experiences with one another upon returning. We had both learned a lot and grown in new ways that were largely foreign to the other as they had not been there. Taking intentional time to share stories, hear the other person out, and relive those moments with the other was so vital to the growth of both of us and overall communication between one another.
Three: Write Letters/Journal. I have always been a writer of some sorts and express myself better in written words rather than orally most times. I also love mail. As a child the thought of e-mail frightened me and still does to an extent nowadays. Writing letters back and forth to one another makes for a double wammy of wonderfulness as I get mail and also get to hear from my love and all of the wonderful or challenging experiences he is encountering. Even now when our communication is not as limited, it is fun to send and receive these thought out and intentional letters that express what is on our hearts.
As far as keeping a journal, I couldn't recommend it more. There are so many points in my life I wish I would have journaled about throughout because I have forgotten the vivid details and emotions I was feeling in that present time. Journaling regularly also helps me remember special moments and feelings I want to share with Jacob when we are together physically.
Four: Be Creative. Oh the things we have done when living far away from one another. It makes me giggle thinking about how random some of the things we have tried are but they make for good stories and golden memories now. Be creative, be goofy, and be spontaneous. We've played battleship through emailing coordinates three times a week (yes it was a really long game), we have skyped in the middle of the night when our schedules finally worked out, we have sent pictures to one another, we have eaten at the same time as if to be sharing meals... so many random things.
In one of my shameless moments of painfully missing Jake I was about $200 and 7 minutes short of jumping in a strangers car and traveling over 20 hours to go visit him for a time period of less than half of it would take to travel there. Maybe not the smartest idea I have had on the planet, but hey I got creative and figured out a way for it to work if I really wanted it to.
Five: Live in the Moment. As I share this one, I find myself nostalgic over all the tough conversations the two of us have had about the reality of living in the moment. One of the many reasons I love Jacob is because he is a pro at this. I am a firm believer that the Lord calls each of us to unique opportunities, experiences, and seasons of life for a reason. While I would love to spend my every moment with my man throughout these periods of long distance, not only would I be missing out on incredible moments but I would be ignoring the distinct call of the Lord on my life.
Living in and for the moments we are in the midst of takes a huge chunk of faith and trust on our parts especially when it is not the most fun or enjoyable, but ultimately our Father will make all things work together for his good and in his time.
So there you have it, 5 ideas that have worked for us and may or may not work on your journey through long distance. What has or hasn't worked for you? What do you find most challenging and rewarding about being apart from a loved one?
Labels: Jacob, LOVE, relationships