Christmas break has begun! Can I get an Amen 😉 Hallmark will be on 24/7, lots of coffee will be sipped, and I will be spending all the time with people I love dearly. Doesn’t that sound so amazing?
OK. So I wanted to write about dating long-distance. I have no idea who or if anyone even reads my blogs, but there may be just one person out there who this could help…so here I go.
Quick background: Michael and I have been dating for almost 5 years now and at least 3 of those years have been long-distance. He was my very first boyfriend and I can only thank the Lord for that! If you know Michael you know that everyone adores him. He cares so much about other people, always makes people feel like they have a friend, and is always willing to help. He views all people the same and has a smile that will light up an entire room. No one is perfect, but he certainly comes close in my eyes. I truly am grateful to be called his girlfriend 🙂
One question I get asked quite often is, “How do you handle the distance?” And to be honest, I have not had an answer for awhile. I simply just respond with, “I don’t really know, I just do!” And to some extent, that’s true. I just deal with it. I feel like people shut down at the thought of long-distance dating these days. Part of it, I think, is the fear/doubt/mistrust that can form more easily being apart…but the other part is the way society has shaped our minds. Today we can have pretty much anything we want in a split second. Items can be shipped in one day straight to your door, food can be picked up through a window so that you don’t even have to get out of your car, and apparently there’s an app that can get you a date or whatever by a swipe right. People want what they want, and they want it now. The reason most people frown over long-distance dating is because it takes work–> lots of work.
So before reading further, if you are one of the ones who thinks long-distance just means it won’t work out…stop and take a deep breath and open your mind to a new perspective.
The first 2 years that Michael and I were dating, we saw each other a good bit. I was still in High School and at the time he was going to a Junior College right up the road. Then, he got a scholarship to play baseball at Holmes. Although this was only about 2 hours away from where we both live, baseball took up most of his time…so he only came home on random weekends when he didn’t have practice or wasn’t traveling for games. I guess you could say this was when our long-distance started (even though I did get to see him more than I thought I would). During this time I was kind of crazy (I know I know, but at least I admitted it). By crazy I just mean that I got mad over little, stupid stuff, had my doubts, and things like that. We had our ups and downs no doubt. But by the literal grace of God, we always managed to make it through. And thank goodness Michael continued to put up with me! HaHa!!!
Fast forward to 2 summers ago, when our long-distance was for real long-distance…Michael went to play baseball in CANADA!! Yes, you are reading that correctly. He went across the globe to play on a baseball team for the whole entire summer. Sad is an understatement. I was dreading the day he was leaving for the airport. The morning of, I went over to his house to help him and everyone else get all his things together and just spend that time with him before he had to leave. I held it together as best I could. I even made the drive home strongly too! But as soon as I pulled into my driveway, all the waterworks ya’ll! They just came and came. I was so, so sad. So I pretty much spent that whole day just crying. Now I will mention that I was so excited for him. I was glad he got to experience a new country and play the game he loves. We texted daily and had random calls/facetimes, so I was thankful I could at least communicate with him. But during this time, I really learned how stupid I had been before. It was during this summer that I did some personal evaluating and decided to make some changes in myself for the relationship. This is an important lesson that I will discuss momentarily. Needless to say, I made it through. And the sweetest thing happened! Toward the end of July I was in Louisiana for my cousin’s wedding. I knew Michael would be coming home soon but I didn’t know exactly when. Long story short, he had been texting my mom and was coming home earlier than he told me he was and he wanted to surprise me! 🙂 His family had actually videoed him getting into the airport and forgot to block me from the post, so I ended up seeing it and knew! But it’s the though that counts, right? It was the sweetest and I can’t tell you all how excited I was to see him and have him in America!
Actually a few weeks after he got back from Canada, he moved to Arkansas to continue playing baseball there. And so, the distance continued. I got really sad again at the beginning, but I learned to get used to it. I got to see him on random weekends, holidays, and occasionally when I got to go and watch him play! This is still the case, but it is his last year of school!
As you can see, we have experienced quite some distance. And along the way, the distance has taught me some important/valuable things that I want to share!
- Distance is a good thing in relationships. When Michael and I were together, and even when he was just a couple hours away, I never appreciated him or our relationship. I mentioned that I got mad over stupid things and looked for a problem where there wasn’t one. It wasn’t until we were truly in distance (Canada) that I realized how much I love Michael, and loved dating him. The value of the relationship was realized by me when we were apart the furthest. I’m not saying that people who date and go to the same school don’t value their relationship…I am just sharing that distance taught me to value the relationship and Michael as a person!
- Distance also helped me learn to be thankful for the time we DO get to spend together. It is easy for me to get sad/upset when Michael comes home on a Saturday and leaves again on Sunday. But I am learning (yes it is still a process for me) to enjoy him being home and value that time. It is much sweeter when we are together now! Recently he tried to surprise me again by coming home a day early. Once again I found out haha but because we had been apart, I was even more thankful and adored him for doing that for me! It literally just made it all the more sweet because we hadn’t seen each other in awhile.
- With distance comes lots of alone time as well. Of course I have friends and family, but I am talking in the companion sense. In those times of aloneness I have realized things I need to change about myself and how I can better myself. I am in a season of seeking the Lord with all I have and learning how to be what he wants me to be. Because if I fill myself up with Christ, I will have more to give in my dating relationship such as encouragement and things like that! It has/is so fun trying to discover Christ for myself.
- Distance has also never given me the chance to be obsessed with Michael or having a boyfriend. It has never been about having a boyfriend to me or girlfriend to him. From the start, it’s been serious which I think can be so valuable. I am thankful we have had that from the start. But being apart, he does his thing, I do mine, and when we do see each other, it’s not obsession, but thankfulness and just being happy to be in the same room! I think being obsessed with a person or a relationship can lead to some weird stuff and I feel like you would be upset/angry more.
That was long, I know…but I just wanted to share my journey/heart for anyone willing to read this. I’m definitely not a pro and don’t have it all together. I have my diva moments, I get sad and upset, and I’m more emotional now than I’ve ever been (idk why?). Distance is really hard, especially when you’ve been dating someone for so long that you just want to see them more often…and it’s not getting easier. But I have learned (and am still learning) lessons from being in a long-distance. For that I am thankful and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
If you are in a long-distance relationship, or are holding back because you think you may end up with the distance, don’t fear it anymore. Give it a try! If you both really want to be together and love each other, you will make it work! “People in long-distance relationships never last” is such a lie. Don’t listen to it anymore! And for those of you currently in a long-distance relationship, keep rocking on!
I really would not trade my long-distance journey/relationship with Michael for anything! I am so grateful the Lord gave me him:)
Enjoy a few of my favorite pictures of us!