This weekend marks the two years that William and I have been officially dating long distance. If you’re into numbers like me, it marks the 155 days we have spent together and the 575 days we have spent 600 miles apart. So I guess it’s only fitting that we aren’t together this weekend to celebrate. Because that wouldn’t be any fun at all. (Sigh.)
Loving someone long distance is one the most challenging things I’ve ever done. It also happens to be one of the greatest and most valuable experiences of my life.
Of course we have the ability to be in communication every day via calling, texting, FaceTiming, emailing, selfie sending, snapchatting (THANK YOU SMART PEOPLE) and even written letters (yes, we still write letters and it’s awesome) but sometimes most of the time even all of that doesn’t feel like enough.
Because the truth is, long distance is lonely. And it feels unnatural. It can quickly make your heart bitter, jealous, and depressed and it can just as easily, rob you of your security and peace.
If I’m not careful, my brain begins to define our relationship by the countless weddings we’ve been to alone, the fact that we have never been on a Valentine’s Day date, that William has never been with me on my birthday or the day I graduated, or that, unfortunately, we have become masters of the “third wheel”.
None of which are the exciting or romantic things you dream about when falling in love.
Because sometimes you just want to hug the person you love when something is good and you want their shoulder to get mascara all over when something is not.
You want to have those serious and necessary “relationship building” talks in person… but you don’t… and you can’t… because waiting twenty something days doesn’t make sense.
You just want to be able to go on a flippin’ date on a Friday night and hold hands and feel beautiful but you can’t so instead… you babysit. A lot.
You meet their friends by quickly waving during a blurry FaceTime call and people say things like “OH so you ARE real!” when you finally do meet.
You have arguments via the phone and you guessed it — you say “I’m sorry, please forgive me” via the phone. Wahoo!
You spend a lot of time sharing schedules and trying to figure out the next time you will be able to see each other. Which means working through logistics that make your brain hurt and buying oh so many plane tickets that make your wallet hurt. (Insert me screaming: “IT SHOULDN’T BE THIS HARD TO HANG OUT WITH MY BOYFRIEND/FIANCE!”)
You really don’t know what it’s like to hang out mid-week and you begin to wonder what it’s like to just eat Chick-Fil-A breakfast OR lunch together. (We have finally done both. PTL.)
And you spend entirely too much time staring at FaceTime’s evil stepsisters: “Poor Connection” and “Reconnecting”, which always seem to come at the BEST time. I think I’ll be okay if I never have to see that spinning wheel of death ever again.
So it’s safe to say there are plenty of negatives about long distance relationships to go around but what I often have to remind myself is that there are just as many positives.
Like how we have grown TREMENDOUSLY in our ability to communicate within our relationship. Because when you don’t have the opportunity to “hang out mid-week” and simply watch TV or run errands, you learn to talk. Communication is your only option of a foundation when you have spent 73% of your relationship apart.
There is such JOY in writing and receiving letters/packages and in our treasured journal that we pass back and forth every time we are together. Something we would have no reason to do within the same city. I cherish that simple red journal as it holds so many memories, prayers, highs/lows, lists, funny notes, and sweet love letters. We will add to it for years to come.
Maybe long distance didn’t allow us to simply eat Chick-Fil-A together FOR A WHOLE YEAR, but it has provided us with many opportunities to travel. And I think that makes up for it. In the last two years we have met up in or visited together: Atlanta/Marietta/Roswell, GA, Birmingham, AL, Effingham, IL, San Antonio, TX, Austin, TX, Savannah, GA, Auburn, AL, Huntsville, AL, St. Louis, MO, Guntersville, AL, Mobile, AL, Montgomery, AL, Watercolor, FL, Nashville, TN, Columbiana, AL, Clanton, AL, Chicago, IL, Rosemary, FL, Orange Beach, AL, Louisville, KY, Athens, GA. We love that each of these cities holds different memories that we probably wouldn’t have created by dating in the same city. The fact that we met, had our first date, our first kiss, our first fight, and got engaged in all different cities is something most people cannot say. Not to mention, you learn a whole lot more about someone while traveling than you do while eating fast food 🙂 .
With William being in the military there is always the chance of a deployment for him and we have decided that this season has better prepared us for that possibility. Not that we would be excited about taking on that situation, but we do know that we can and will make it work if and when the time comes.
And lastly, my favorite positive is that loving someone long distance has taught me much about the Lord’s love for me. You see, while long distance can feel lonely and uncomfortable at times, so can following Jesus. It’s so easy to get caught up in that fact that we are 600 miles apart and to throw a pity party when I have to do something on my own, but it’s in those moments that the Lord whispers, “You are never alone”. A whisper that could easily be clouded when you learn to depend and only by satisfied in earthly love.
I may not be able to see William, touch him, smell him, but I know he’s there and I know he loves me. Just like Jesus. No matter what my day looks like here in Georgia, I know I am loved by my fiancé in St. Louis and even more so by my Creator and Savior in Heaven. And discovering the depth of that truth through this season makes being the third wheel not so bad.
Luckily, on April 4th, we will be able to say goodbye, adios, sayonara, ciao, peace out to long distance as we step into covenant marriage and I finally move to St. Louis to join my HUSBAND! (Insert a smile that hurts!)
Although we are over the top excited for this transition of our relationship and are counting down the days until we can finally experience living in the same city and context, I often find myself hoping that we would never forget these LONG distance days. For they are where we began and how the Lord intended for us to fall in love. May we always rejoice in living out the Lord’s plan for our lives.
I pray that in coming years we would never take quality time for granted for we should know better than anyone that it’s so special. And I pray that we seek the Lord’s guidance as we finally learn how to love one another well within short distance.
For those of you who are struggling lucky enough to be loved through a long distance relationship, my heart reaches out to yours. I know the pain that pairs with it but I pray you have found the joy that comes with it too. Rest in the fact that the Lord knows what is best for your heart and that He will never stop being jealous for your affection. Rest in His deep love for you and His promise “to go with you; to never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
He is good. He is safe. He is faithful. He is ever-present.
Only 50 more days until we no longer have to be so close yet so far.
Thank you, Jesus.
Shout out to my long distance love. The only boy I know that understands the importance of updating our front door wreath and sending me a picture of it every day. Love knows no distance with you, boo.