Getting to know someone and dating can be fun and exciting, but if we’re honest, its also nerve-wracking and a lot of work. It’s even more work when you’re in different time zones, separated by 2,000 miles, and costs hundreds of dollars to see each other. If you haven’t guessed already, I’m in a Long Distance Relationship/Courtship/Whatever. (Because if you’re Christian, it doesn’t really matter what you call it, but how you do it, and how you pursue Christ together)
I Live in LA. He Lives in Chicago. We met in Raleigh, North Carolina. Random? Maybe…I tend to believe it’s not. In March 2013, we both attended an InterVarsity Black staff conference. I’d love to say it was love at first sight, but in reality the sparks didn’t really go flying. During prayer in a small group, he shared he just experienced a hard break up a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say, I left the conference wanting to be JUST FRIENDS. After a couple of weeks he friended me on FB and tried to connect with me. I responded slowly, sometimes taking weeks. He still didn’t give up. Our FB messaging, soon turned into phones calls, SKYPE, and eventually him visiting me in LA. One thing that made Alex stand out more than any other guy I previously liked, was he made it very clear to me what his INTENTIONS were. After some time, he told me “I am interested in you and I am pursuing you.” Too often Christian guys leave everything ambiguous. Ladies are often left wondering, “Is this a date, or are we just ‘hanging out?” “Are we just friends?” As Christians we want to date with purpose. Guys, this doesn’t mean you have to know right away whether she’s your future wife. But it does mean that if you’re going on dates, after a short while you need to make your intentions known, whether its friendship or more. I’ve been in my long distance relationship for 1 year, 3 months and 18 days, but who’s really counting lol. I readily admit that I’m NO expert. I just know what has worked for us, what areas we need to grow in, and how God calls us to love in all our relationships. With that said, I’ve thought of 5 key things that are needed in Long Distance relationships and ALL relationships.
5 C’s for Thriving in your relationship.
Communicate effectively. Communication is VITAL. If something is bothering you, just say it! (Kindly). I’ve learned the hard way by sweeping stuff under the rug that it will still bother me. Ignoring it puts me in a bad mood that only leaves my boyfriend guessing what is wrong. Often it’s a miscommunication because of poor Internet connection or a text was read in the wrong tone. Find out and express your feelings. Avoid passive aggressive confrontations.
Choose to spend quality time together. As adults we’re all busy with work, school, family, church etc… Regardless, people make time for things that really matter to them. You don’t have to talk on the phone and FaceTime every single day. But send a note, a quick text, a FB message simply saying, “I’m thinking of you.” A small gesture goes a LOONG way.
Creatively Express your Love. Learn the other person’s love language and try your best to express your love in that way. (Click here to learn about love languages). Right before I started working as a teacher Alex gave me the cutest hand-made door plaque for my room that read “Ms. Q’s class.” I loved it!
Concentrate on Building trust: Trust is earned not automatically given. This is tricky in an LDR. As you get to know each other be honest about who you are. When you visit the other person’s hometown see if what their friends and family say matches up to your perspective of the person, and how they have presented themselves.
Center your relationship on Christ: This is the absolute most important part of any relationship. Really learn each other’s beliefs. Challenge, encourage, support, pray, read the word together. Keep making spending time with God a priority, individually and together. Set clear physical boundaries and be held accountable during visitations by friends and/or church family. 1st Thessalonians 5:11