Are you in a long distance relationship or a long-term relationship? This blog is for you or for you to share with a friend that you think would be encouraged by this!
I just want to start out to say that so many of you send in questions that are SO good and one’s that I, too, have asked. I am sharing what has worked for me, and what has worked for some of my closest friends and family that I trust. I pray before I type these blogs and before I post them that they would meet the right people and be an encouragement.
Today I want to introduce to you, Hannah! Hannah just got engaged this past weekend on October 12, to Luke. They are in a long distance relationship. Luke is in grad school and Hannah is finishing up her undergrad.
Hannah was gracious and kind enough to reach out to me and say, “Hey Tay, if any girls are asking questions about long distance, I would love to encourage them.”
LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS- All Answered by Hannah.
Q1. What is something that has helped you with anxiety when it comes to long distance?
A1. Schedule times for when you plan on seeing each other. Leaving visits open ended causes for more anxiety of what’s next.
Q2. What would be your tip on how to communicate when in a long distance relationship?
A2. Have extra grace and kindness. Couples often get in fights when in a long distance relationship but it’s more so because of the situation rather than the actual person.
Q3. Sometimes I feel like we are totally missing each other. What would be your advice for that?
A3. Be patient. You’re on two totally different schedules and need to lower the expectation of talking and texting all day long.
Q4. What is a good way to keep Christ the center of your relationship and talk about God together?
A4. Luke and I went into the Bible app and picked a Bible study to do together. Every day it’s something that no matter what, we know we both have done and read which helps with accountability and also communication. Keep God at the center. Because without Him, it’s so much easier to fall apart and place blame and not have trust.
Q5. What are some fun ways that you have kept the “spark” alive during long distance?
A5. Sometimes Luke and I will cash app each other randomly with “coffee on me” just as a random gesture of thoughtfulness. We also don’t FaceTime all the time because it was overkill and becomes more of a “routine.” We also loved writing letters to one another, and the Bible study as previously mentioned above.
Q6. I have gone past my boundaries in previous relationships and I really want to glorify the Lord in the one that I am in, how do I go about that?
1. START OVER- Often times in relationships when you have crossed the line it is much easier to trick ourselves into thinking “well, we’ve already done this once so what will one more time do.” This is a lie that we should not believe. If a boundary gets crossed or you know you are going too far, make a conscious choice to change your ways.
2. SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES- Sometimes we are unsure of what the boundaries are so we test them. If your clothes cover that part of your body, than that shouldn’t be touched- in my opinion.
3. BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU HANGOUT- My fiancé and I only hang out in living rooms in houses that have other people in them. We do not go to either one of our rooms, and we try not to sit in the car for too long, because for some reason it can escalate or cause temptation.
4. FORGIVENESS- Realize in the depths of your soul that you are forgiven of that sin. When you realize that this is breaking the father’s heart, even if it feels like you are taking care of yours, you will be much more likely to not do it again. Do not live under the labels and pressures of what relationships are now in culture.
5. REALIZE YOUR WORTH- I realized that one day I would have to tell my future husband about my mistakes, and although they happened I had to accept forgiveness and embrace right, holy, and blameless standing before Christ. This makes way for a list of names to be in the past and a new life and purity of ultimate worth in God to be before my future husband. No list exists within marriage. There is simply a one and only Christ.
LONG TERM RELATIONSHIPS- All answered by Tay Ruth.
Q1. What would your advice be for couples who have a long time until they are able to get married?
A1. Spend that time to get to know each other and have fun. Think about it, you are only in the current season for an allotted time. After that you will look back on it as a memory. Spend your days focusing on setting up a solid foundation of communicating, encouraging one another, and lifting the other up.
Q2. Is it a red flag if you feel disconnected all of the sudden? Have you and Luke ever felt disconnected?
A2. Every relationship is different. But I know for mine and Luke’s we have had times of “disconnect” and I am sure that there will be times that we will feel that again. Sometimes I feel a disconnect in my relationship with God but that doesn’t mean I have to throw the red flag up and quit on my relationship with God. But, what it does mean is that I have to refocus, communicate, and reaffirm. When Luke and I are feeling disconnected we have learned that it’s usually because one of us is going through something and just don’t know how to communicate it to the other person so it causes us to isolate from the other. Or if our relationship has become more “routine” and stagnant in growth. We have learned that it helps us a lot to get out and do something fun together and to tell one another everything we truly appreciate about the other and our relationship.
Q3. Is it hard to date for so long before engagement?
A3. Hard? Yes. Worth it? Totally.
Q4. What is the hardest part about dating for so long?
A4. Naturally during a relationship there is growth. So when you are dating for a long period of time it can be hard to protect one another while also growing in a healthy way. It takes a lot of communication, grace, and patience. At times it felt like we were in the longest tunnel ever and couldn’t see the light at the end. But you have to change your perspective on it to be one where the time gives you the opportunity to truly get to know the other.
Q5. How do you trust each other when you have been dating for so long? How do you deal with jealousy or insecurity?
A5. At some point difficult conversations may happen and expectations, or the ideas in our head, of who we are with can feel dashed or compromised. Before I can trust Luke I trust God. I make sure my actions are right before the Lord, and I pray that Luke’s decisions would ultimately glorify the Lord. At the end of the day, I know that we are both responsible for our actions. We both have to make an effort to be trustworthy, and to trust.
I have battled with insecurity and questioning whether I was “enough.” Ultimately, the only one who could “fix” my insecurities was God. Luke, although he would try to affirm me, or bring peace, I still felt unsettled or insecure at times. I had to work on my insecurities with the Lord, and know that no man or person can just “fix it” by doing or saying something magical.
Q6. Other than financial reasons or finishing school, what do you think are good reasons for the couple to keep dating and hold off on being engaged?
A6. Again- every relationship is different. But I remember when I was 19 I was CONVINCED Luke was going to propose to me. I was so anxious. I knew I wasn’t ready and I knew he wasn’t either. HAHA first of all, he was not at all going to propose and I don’t even know how my mind thought that. But, what I learned from it was that both Luke’s and my mind set was in a “selfish” zone. Not because we didn’t love one another, but because we had not yet realized that our dreams could become each other’s. We were very focused on ourselves, and what was best for “me” rather than trying to see how we could serve the other. This was also having a lot to do with our personal relationships with Christ. We realized we didn’t really rely on God, we still relied on ourselves. Marriage/engagement is such a humbling experience. It’s meant to be a reflection of Christ and the Church. The Church isn’t supposed to be so focused on how she can better herself apart from Christ. See what I’m saying?
I am so excited about next week’s blog about Marriage! Stay tuned and share this with any friends that you think would be encouraged by these words. Also, thank you so much Hannah for all of your help on this blog.
Thanks for reading,