“Distance makes the heart grow fonder.” Over the past couple of years I have discovered just how true this quote is. Growing up I didn’t have much experience with long distance relationships; my family was always right next to me and my closest friends all lived in the same state, if not in the same city. Going to college twelve hours away from home gave me my first taste of long-distance relationships as I tried to keep in touch with my family and friends back in Mississippi, but the summer after my freshman year of college I began to discover what a long distance relationship really meant.
Sam and I started dating at the beginning of the spring semester during my freshman year and his senior year at Florida College. That summer I went home to Mississippi and he went to complete a preaching internship at a congregation in Ohio, which put us twelve hours apart. It was difficult at first, but we began talking on the phone every night, sending letters weekly, emailing periodically, and texting daily. The few times we got to see each other that summer were so special and we really tried to take full advantage of the time we had together.
Nine days after we were engaged Sam got on a plane and flew across and ocean, over five thousand miles away to Romania. We did not think we would see each other again for nine months, until right before our wedding. It made it a little easier to know that we would not have to be apart again once we saw each other again, but such a lengthy long distance relationship was still extremely hard.
I think the most important aspect of a long distance relationship is intentional communication. During our nine-month separation (minus two weeks we surprisingly got to spend together over my winter break) we created schedules for talking and studying various subjects together. We sent long emails each week and texts throughout the day. Some days we didn’t really want to talk to each other (rarely!), but we never regretted it when we did. I think it was thanks to the volume and variety of our communication throughout our engagement that made it so easy to see each other for the first time, and then get married four days later.
Reunited four days before our wedding!
Now some mornings I’ll wake up and tell Sam I’m so glad I can just roll over and tell him “good morning” instead of texting him. I’m so glad we don’t have to schedule our conversations over a seven-hour time difference, and now we can pretty much talk any time we want to.
When my long distance relationship with Sam finally ended, many more began. I moved across the ocean and over five thousand miles away with him to Romania, which now separates me from my family and many dear friends. I have relearned that intentional communication is again what makes the difference in these relationships. I have schedules to talk to different family members and friends throughout the week, as well as emails, texts, and letters.
Long distance relationships are hard. Sometimes they can get easier if you put forth the effort, but they are never easy. However, I think they can be very beneficial. Constant and intentional communication eases the hardship, and when you are finally reunited it is so worth it. I read a quote somewhere that spoke of the benefits of a long distance relationship, that being long distance makes you love a person even more. When you don’t get to be together you come to love their voice, the meaning behind their texts, or pictures of them doing every day life.
We are still so happy!
Whether or not you are in a physical long distance relationship, I think we are all in a long distance relationship our whole lives with God. Constant and intentional communication will help us get closer to Him, and when we are reunited it will be so joyful and so worth it!
Are you in a long distance relationship? What makes it easier?