Putting God at the Forefront of Your Relationship
“May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.” – Genesis 31:49
Relationships, in general, are work. I don’t even have to say this, everyone that is or has been in a relationship understands how much time and work is poured out to caring for and loving another. It takes prayer, communication, time, effort, honesty, loyalty, and fidelity for a godly relationship to work, whether your significant other lives next door or a thousand miles away. And long distance relationships (I will refer to them as LDRs for the remainder of this post) are surprisingly not that much different than normal relationships but I do want to say that they test the authenticity of your love and your patience.
If you are in an LDR, you have probably heard all the negative comments, and might feel a bit discouraged because instead of finding your family’s and friends’ support, it seems everyone believes LDRs don’t work. I have heard many of these in my experience being in an LDR going on 3.5 years. I encourage you to continue reading as I debunk 5 myths many believe why LDRs don’t work.
Everything I discuss here won’t work if you don’t have a firm belief in the power of Jesus Christ. As with every facet of our lives, if God is not involved, all will fail. Without Him, we simply couldn’t do anything, not even breathe…
5 myths about long distance relationships debunked! Click To Tweet
Myth #1: “Long Distance Relationships Are Not Real”
“It’s like dating a ghost. But Skype? It solves everything, right?” – Adam, “If I Stay”
I’m starting with this one because as with the rest I will discuss in a minute, all myths surrounding LDRs follow the same train of thought. Many if not, most people believe that you can somehow compensate for the distance and absence of the other with communication. This is the crux of the problem and the ultimate killer of LDRs. It’s impossible to equate being physically there with talking. You can talk all you want but it won’t bring you physically closer to your loved one.
What you can do is focus on other areas of your relationship. You can learn to love despite the distance, and by God’s grace, strengthen and grow together as a couple. I’m not saying that communication is not important or that you should disregard it, not at all. If anything, I advise you to talk every day, don’t stop talking, texting, video calling each other, but don’t do it as a way to make up for absence, it will leave you tired and discouraged (more on that on myth #4). LDRs are a test of love. If it’s genuine love, the distance will only strengthen it, but if it’s pretentious, it will wither. This is what I love about LDRs, it separates UNCONDITIONAL love from phony “love.”
Myth #2: “You Grow Apart”
I can throw in another one I’ve heard: you never get to know them completely. You can grow apart regardless of distance and you can never know someone completely, even married couples learn something new about each other daily. The only way that the distance can make you grow apart is if you have displaced your focus on loving the other and instead selfishly look to see that your needs have been met. You may not be married…yet, but all romantic relationships work the same. Being in a relationship is not about what you can get from it but rather what you can give and bring into the relationship. Most relationships fail because neither party is willing to sacrifice in order to give. You can also grow apart if you’re not being honest, which takes me to…
Myth #3: “It’s Hard To Trust (Easy to Keep Secrets)”
This is one of the bigger ones and one of 2 main reasons why people believe LDRs don’t work. Simply said, cheaters will cheat, they don’t need to live a thousand miles to keep secrets and lie. Short distance relationships (let’s call it that) sometimes also struggle with trust. The cheater will cheat the moment you have to go out (business, vacation, etc). But beloved, as children of God, why date like an unbeliever? If your relationship is firmly rooted on the Author of love, you won’t have reason to distrust.
If you’re that desperate to be together physically that you need to cheat then, either (a) God is not your foundation, and/ or (b) your love is superficial. Love keeps no secrets. By this point, I hope you can see that LDRs are not much different than regular relationships and the problems you can encounter in LDRs can also be encountered in normal ones. And what keeps normal relationships healthy also keeps LDRs alive: God alone.
Myth #4: “Having to Invest Too Much Time, You Grow Tired”
Others say that their schedules don’t coincide, and having to work arrangements to make time to talk get’s tiring. This myth ties with the first one I discussed. Every relationship no matter the distance requires a time investment. Depending on how far you live from each other, the time difference can be a problem, but love always makes a way, it may not be easy, but love does make things easier. As I said earlier, there’s no love without sacrifice, you may need to give up some things to make time to talk.
I want to reiterate that, you simply CANNOT compensate the absence of one another with communication, trying to do so will result in disappointment and exhaustion (and why this myth exists). The beauty of LDRs is that it takes away the focus on the physical and refocuses on other things that matter too: praying for one another (you can pray together over the phone) getting to know each other over video chats, sending each other letters and gifts, and so much more (you can actually perfect the art of creativity).
Bottom line, if you aren’t ready to invest time on your loved one, then you’re not ready for any kind of relationship, period.Communication cannot compensate for absence. Click To Tweet
Myth #5: “Not Knowing When You’ll See Each Other Again”
I can understand this one completely, I struggled with it. Not seeing each other often and not knowing when you’ll see him/her again is what makes LDRs really hard. It can come punching you in the face if you don’t understand what being in an LDR entails. While you see other couples doing things together: going on dates, hanging together with friends, going to church together, you name it, you wallow in your internal pain at not being able to do the same. It’s not easy. But this is how it is. Maybe, you can’t be with him/her due to school, financial problems, work, whatever the case may be, but don’t lose heart, you have one another, what you’re feeling, he/she is feeling too, grow together in this hardship. Use these experiences to grow your love. You cannot make up for the distance but you can use this period to better your relationship, not destroy it.Love always finds a way! Click To Tweet
Love ALWAYS Finds a Way & What It Has Taught Me
I’m grateful for the experiences being in an LDR has brought into my life. I have learned what genuine unconditional love really is and I know I wouldn’t have learned it any other way. Yes, it’s difficult but love always finds a way to survive. It makes every second I spend with my boyfriend all the more special, it’s like falling in love all over again each time I see him (I know this sounds cliched, but that’s exactly how I feel!). It teaches you to appreciate life and love in a whole new level and for that, I’m so grateful. Our relationship feels so strong, unbreakable & true because of it, I know without a shadow of doubt, that God has only been preparing us for marriage, in His own good time.
But above everything, it has tested, taught and strengthen my patience and faith. I could write a book on how many mistakes I made in the beginning and continue to make. But without them, I wouldn’t have grown this much in my faith and as a person. You can too.
My advice? Don’t lose sight of the One who brought you together, without Him, it’s impossible for your relationship to prosper. His love covers the gap between a thousand miles. Some days will be harder than others, but don’t lose heart! His grace is sufficient for you! (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Keep God at the center and you won’t have to carry the weight on your shoulders because a three fold cord is not easily broken (Ecc. 4:12).