Each relationship has it’s own barriers and challenges and for my boyfriend and I, one of these is the distance between us. Now, we may not live in totally different countries as some do, but the distance between the North and the South of the country is still a difficult one to deal with. When we began to consider courting one another, we had to take into account what we were getting ourselves into. We were asked by some people, ‘well how is that going to work?’, ‘won’t you miss each other?’, ‘how will you make time for each other?’ etc. Of course, being a university student, I knew I wouldn’t always have the time to travel as much as I would like to in order to develop our relationship and I found that if I dwelt on this, the courting experience became a discouraging thought.
Whilst we continued to get to know each other, we decided to study the idea of love and relationships both from the Bible and a book called The Adventist Home, and in this book the author writes:
‘Heart’s that are filled with the love of Christ can never get very far apart.’
Now it sounds like a lovely concept when you’re in a long distance relationship; all we have to do is have the love of God in our hearts and we won’t be far apart? But how does that even work? How can it bridge the gap that distance creates?
‘For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38, 39
The Bible tells us that literally nothing is able to separate us from the love of God. That’s how immense his love for us is! So, if that love of God is in my heart, and the same love is in my partner’s heart, then of course our hearts can never get very far apart. You may be far from someone in proximity but that doesn’t mean you have to be far from them within your relationship. It is the love of God within us that keeps that bond, that keeps the love growing from day to day. What a beautiful thought!
Now of course you still have to be practical within your relationship. Throughout the months of being together, we have found some things that work for us but I would encourage them for any relationship, not just the long distance ones!
- Make time:
In essence, it sounds quite simple, but it isn’t always that easy. With the busy lives that we live, it can be difficult to actually set aside time in the day to spend with our partners. For me, quality time is how I feel loved, and since I’m not able to physically spend that time with my partner, I have to consciously set aside time to spend with him. And that can be anything from sending a text to see how their day went or having those phone calls that can last hours on end.
2. Value the time:
The time that you eventually do get to physically be with your partner, make sure you value it! A moment can be wasted when we get caught up on our phones or simply chilling and watching TV. Try to utilise the time that you have by doing activities that will enable you to engage with each other such as cooking, visiting places of interest, etc.
3. You’re not alone:
When we focus so much on our own feelings, love can become selfish as we think about how much we’re in need of something and how much we need to feel loved, it can become all about ‘me, me, me’. By remembering that our partner is quite possibly feeling the same, we will then seek to meet their needs instead of our own. When the two are trying to meet the needs of each other, distance is quickly erased.
4. Prayer and study:
These are essential to getting to know and understand God’s love for you as an individual. When this happens, that’s when the love of God will be in your heart and as we saw in Romans 8 that is what is needed to minimise the feeling of a long distance. Within my own relationship, I’ve found that without these two things the distance is always made more apparent. There really is something about spending time in God’s word and communicating with Him that brings people together!
Of course these things take effort and planning sometimes, but they really do help to remove that ‘farway’ feeling that comes from time to time. Whether it’s physical or emotional distance between you and your partner, remember that when God’s love is in the heart, nothing can separate the two!