{Made with Strength} How to THRIVE in a Long Distance as a Couple

Monday, 7 March 2016

How miserable can long distance relationships be?!

The worst, right?!

I remember when Superman first popped up on my radar. I had only dated one guy for a couple months, and had always been very reserved when it came to dating. But from the beginning something was different.

He was different; so I continued getting to know him to the point where I was sitting with a shaking leg, and a nervous heart outbound from San Diego to Amsterdam where we would meet for the first time in person.

Ugh, even just saying it out loud to you brings a nervous pit back into my stomach. I truly don't think I've ever been more scared in MY LIFE than in that moment right before walking out to greet him.

In FACT, I spent a solid 15 minutes self-talking in the ladies room as I choked out the other girls with my obnoxious sprays of dry-shampoo on my limp, day-old curls.

I can do this. 
Courtney, you can do this. 
You know him, this is totally normal to fly across the world to hang with a guy you met on Instagram. Totally. 

Now or never was the quiet, but brave voice within that pushed me out those doors and through the airport corridor.

That week, I was truly romanced, and pursued by Superman. He pulled ALLL the stops; literally, even a surprise day trip to Paris... yeah. ALLL the stops.

It amazed me how deeply we connected and how difficult it was to get BACK on that plane heading home after such a magical week. We were at a crossroads. We already loved each other, so how could this work?

We made a game plan.

Might sound kinda silly to you but literally it was this gameplan that was our bread and butter to our relationship. It was our source of comfort during trying times and our future hope in the exciting times.

So here is how you attack the long distance situation (or really any situation) in the dating game:

1. You date with intention:

Both Superman and I were very serious about dating. We knew we were looking for a spouse, and we knew how serious marriage was in God's eyes. Neither of us were interested in "checking out the scene". So we dated with the intention to get married.

Now let me just back up a second and say, this is definitely not right for all couples. However, dating long distance already adds it's own pressure/stress (you name it) complicating feelings. Therefore, having a purpose + direction behind your relationship will be the glue to stabilize you when emotions get high.

2. You focus on communication:

Communication is an important key in any relationship; especially, long distance ones because it is all you have. Find a way to include your significant other into your daily life so that you are growing together as a couple, eliminating jealousy, building trust in a solid foundation.

Here are a few ways to creatively communicate while still cultivating those butterflies of a new relationship :)
- share a verse/piece of truth + a short prayer for your man/woman (because of the time difference, Superman always left me a verse/encouragement/short prayer combo text for me to wake up to every morning; and since I woke up before him, I would do the same back! I saved these and still have our little encouraging exchanges today)

-create a shared photo stream- like your own private instagram picture messages to one another

- snail mail-- okayyyy what girl doesn't LOVE snail mail from her man?? None. We totally drool all over that sappy stuff- so bring on the penpaling boys! (perfect for scrap books later too)

- flowers-- send those on occasion to your girl ;) it communicates love beautifully :)

3. You set boundaries:

In any relationship, temptation exists. Especially when you're long distance, you are surrounded by community living daily life WITH you. It can be very easy to fall prey to the attention of another or jealous depending on which side the coin lands.

I tend to get more riled up than Superman about this area. Because I'm crazy for him, I expect every other girl to faint when he walks by too! So we needed to practice step #2 and grow to trust one another through boundary-setting.

For us: we were both committed to not investing personal time into an individual of the opposite sex. However, some situations might arise where it would be unavoidable and in those cases, we were intentional to text one another who we were with + when we were with them.

4. You still DATE each other:

I LOVE dating Superman. It is how I fell in love with him! So dates are important to us (and still are). We did our best to get facetime via Skype at least once a week as our schedules allow. On our skype dates, we wouldn't just recount the happenings of our past days, we genuinely sought out learning MORE about the other.

We had this thing called "hot seat". It was a really fun game we played where one of us would sit on the hot seat, and the other could ask questions. The opportunity created a space for us to be silly, to hear childhood stories or embarrassing college moments, but it also invited a safe space for sharing the harder or deeper layers to our lives. If you're not actively pursuing one another, your relationship will be stagnant during the distance, and how hard to pick up at the very beginning in those moments you finally do get in person face time?

5. You focus on solving the problem:

Long distance should not be your plan. Long distance should be a temporary obstacle that you are actively pursuing solutions to overcome, together.

Superman and I had a plan. He had told me his intentions that very first week our relationship took off. Both of us didn't see a way to move forward toward marriage without first living in the same city for a season. The only way to do this, was for me to move wherever his next basketball contract took him. Luckily, it was his hometown of Sydney.

But our expectations were the same; I would move wherever he went. We both understood the sacrifice I would be making. We both agreed our future was more in line with our hearts' desires than for me to stay in Cali to pursue a career.

6. Assume the best:

Yes; not all guys are trustworthy. However, if you get to know his character as a man of God, I promise this can be true: assume the best in each other and know that you both are seeking to look out for one another.

I hope you find these tips encouraging and helpful to you and your Superman as you battle the ups and downs of long distance :)

Even in long distance, live Sown with Strength,

1 comment:

  1. The more I read about your story and relationship the more I feel like I'm reading a fairy tale! You guys are both so cute and GENUINE :)