“Distance means so little when someone means so much.” – Unknown, Internet
When Rocket and I talk about how we met (Our Story), most people are shocked that the entirety of our relationship before marriage was long distance. We didn’t live in the same city until after we said, “I do!”
I’m not surprised some find this shocking. Before we started talking, Rocket never considered dating long distance as he prefers face-to-face interactions and doesn’t enjoy talking on the phone. I believed that a long distance relationship could work “IF” and only if both sides were committed. Despite our apprehension, the mutual interest pushed us to continue and we are so happy that we did!
That being said, long distance relationships aren’t easy, but that can be said about any relationship. There will be difficult times, but it’s how you handle those times that determine the health and future of any relationship.
Some of the common issues with long distance relationships include:
- Time differences – A time difference can be detrimental to a relationship if both parties aren’t willing to sacrifice in order to make it work.
Rocket and I had a successful courtship despite an 8 hour time difference. This meant that most of the time, at least one of us was sleeping. We were forced to talk early mornings or late at night.
- Priorities – The relationship must be of high priority for both parties.
Rocket and I demonstrated this by making a conscious effort to respond timely to calls and texts, scheduling visits during time off, and making the other feel thought of during the day. This is the only way to show the relative importance of the relationship in your life. Investing time and energy into our conversations and limited time together really helped our relationship grow and flourish despite the distance.
- Trust – One big issue with long distance is the idea of trust. Can you really trust this person to be committed to you despite the time difference and the distance? This really depends on the type of person you are dating. Some people say all the right things, but don’t follow through.
How did I know I could trust Rocket? From our very first conversation we talked about how important God is in our lives. Rocket kept his word and any question I asked he made a point to understand my concerns, explain the situation, and was even willing to change in order to earn my trust.
Also, by consistently demonstrating that the relationship was a priority to each other, we were able to establish a strong foundation for trust.
- Intentions – Due to the challenges communicating, intentions are easily misunderstood in a long distance relationship, and a plan for ending the long-distance phase is often difficult to commit to at the beginning of a relationship.
Rocket and I found it important to clearly state our intentions, and for both parties to agree before moving forward. When we started “officially” dating, Rocket clearly discussed his intentions for dating and what a committed relationship meant (monogamous, with the intent to get married) to him. Good thing we agreed! Long distance relationships require effort, sacrifices, and time like any relationship, so in my opinion if your intentions are casual then its not worth it.
Also, we set a loose time limit (initially 6 months) for long distance dating that we, discussed and re-evaluated as we reached that point in the relationship. We knew that at some point the distance (or the relationship) would end, and discussed what that meant for our careers, lifestyle, and finances.
- Time together – Some will argue that long distance relationships aren’t as fun because you don’t get to see each other often.
The flip side to that is when you do meet up it’s a joyous occasion that feels like a holiday or a reunion. We scheduled these meet ups as often as possible (pending time off from work and finances), and weren’t afraid to spend time around each other’s family to make it happen (10 of our first 14 days hanging out were around family members).
Benefits of Dating Long Distance:
- Better Communication – Long distance relationships rely on communication to survive. For Rocket and I, it forced us to pay attention to not only the words that were communicated, but the way (emotions, intonations, etc.) they were said. We learned to dig deeper when something was left unsaid and this understanding built a stronger connection.
- Creativity – Dating long distance forces creativity as you think of ways to let your partner know how you feel without actually being present. We read more books and used bible study materials to grow in our relationship in ways that might have been overlooked if we had the privilege of being distracted with dates, movies, activities, and physically attraction. Rocket did a great job letting me know he was thinking about me from sending flowers to every city I traveled for work, leaving behind surprises for me to find after a visit, sending text messages every hour (even during the middle of his night) while I was having a long and hard day at work, or sending me on a scavenger hunt. He kept surprising me. He will tell you that although being creative wasn’t easy in the past, our long distance relationship pushed him to think more creatively because he wanted me to know how he felt.
In the end, despite our initial apprehension, dating long distance was beneficial and worked well for us! If you have any questions or would like to share your long distance relationship stories, comment below or contact us. Looking forward to hearing from you!