|Flinders St Station, Melbourne - A meeting/parting point.|
"We only get to see each other once a year."
"I wish we were like you, together every day."
Long-distance relationships (LDR) have been a well-known challenge of a relationship for those who live with it. The chances are you've heard many stories of an LDR couple, all the more so with the globalisation and far-travelling of everyone around the world. It almost sounds like there is nothing but bad news for anyone in an LDR. Makes one wonder why ANYONE would want to be involved in LDR at all. Just ask many of those in LDR
I don't need to tell you more sad stories. With the benefit of hindsight, I'd like to share some of the benefits of LFR that are less- or never mentioned.
1. More aware of immediate surroundings
|See your surroundings.|
"If s/he's not going, I won't go too, as I've to got to keep her/him company." Familiar? How many opportunities were passed up just to be with the other, not necessarily doing anything better?
We found it especially helpful to be involved with church or ministry opportunities without the other person around as we have more free time than if we were in the same physical place.
2. More time for developing personal life and identity
When introducing A & B, who are a couple, we always introduce them something like this:
"Joseph, meet A. A, Joseph. This is B, A's bf/gf".
One's identity becomes intertwined with the other's. I think this point is especially applicable for individuals 20yo and younger. They end up defining themselves as the significant other (SO) of the other person and without the other person, it's almost as if one's identity is incomplete. I think there's a great danger in that A becomes overly dependent on B's existence to define themselves that they don't get to understand how they themselves operate and function.
|What do you enjoy?|
Do I really like these activities/food/movie?
What do I find restful?
Who are my friends? MY friends, who would hang out with me, not us.
Many more questions that can be asked.
I don't have a problem with that if they're married but in the "not-available-but-not-officially-committed" stage of dating/courtship, that is a hard one.
3. Better and more deliberate use of actual time together
When you don't get every evening or every other evening together, you plan your time and make use of it better. Well, at least you should. You don't waste time on your phones with others or playing games, unlike those who are together every day. You actually stare at each other and chat, since you don't have tomorrow or the next whole month/year together.
Erene and I had a week or two in the times that we met up in 2012 and tried our best to do meaningful stuff together and had things to talk about and learn of each other in that time. The latter applies only to couples who have not gotten to know each other well, of course.
Sometimes, I think that those who are together everyday might know each other's habit better but not know their personalities as well.
4. Lesser temptation
I say "lesser" because temptation isn't just physical. Much can still take place in the mind but at least there isn't the likelihood of "accidentally" doing stuff that you aren't supposed to. That said, there is a greater need for clear and explicit boundaries for the times when you are together as there is the potential for thoughts of "making up for lost time" and other silliness to take root.
5. You don't take each other's presence and time for granted.
This sounds similar to point no 3 but this is more with an eternal perspective in mind.
Everyone's gonna die someday.
|The journey ends somewhere.|
LDR causes one to live with the reality that you will not see the other for a period. In effect, living without the person around. This helps one appreciate the life that God has given them.
In conclusion, whether you start off in an LDR or are moving into LDR, you should and will learn how to adapt to it. I must admit, it was most likely easier for us, starting off in LDR, which means we didn't have to change any expectations or routines as those moving into it would. I have no basis for comparison but logically, it sounds right. I do acknowledge that it is harder with LDR in certain aspects but it can end up being blown to greater proportions than it should be.
|Your perception of the size of everything depends on your perspective.|
I am definitely not encouraging LDR just for the sake of it. I am only saying that LDR is not all doom & gloom and that with God's help, it can work. just approach it with realistic and practical expectations.
Let me know what you think. :)