Anyone who has experienced a long distance relationship knows that it is hard work. Communication is frustrating, travel is expensive, and the time actually spent together is always too short.
While Nick is at camp, and not only far away but not able to communicate, I thought I would share about our experience with a long distance relationship and what I have learned from it. Perhaps Nick will add his input when he gets back from camp.
First, what I have learned from our situation:
- Communication is crucial. So is patience. It is so easy to read into certain words or voices over the phone, but that is not necessarily what the other person is trying to say. It is a lot better to me to ask what he meant than to assume he meant something else. This is where the patience comes in. Not being understood can be frustrating. Being asked, "what?" six times in a row can also be frustrating. But once I get frustrated, he gets frustrated, and then the time spent on the phone gets unpleasant fairly quickly. I have definitely learned a lot about patience over our long distance relationship.
- Nick cannot fully sustain me. Only God can. When something goes wrong, the first person I want to talk to is Nick. But sometimes, that isn't possible. Especially this summer, God has been teaching me to rely on Him first and let Him use Nick when He wants to. I have to remind myself of Psalm 55:22: "Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you."
- Appreciate every moment. I can honestly say I do not do this as well as Nick. I like my sleep. Nick would have us stay up all night if I let him. Sometimes I think he might be a vampire. Not really... but seriously. I don't think he sleeps. Anyway, time is precious, and when you only have 36 hours together, your actions and words should have purpose. Even if that purpose is just spending quality time watching Friends or Big Bang Theory together... :)
Next, I will share some ways we have made long distance more bearable:
- Skype/Video iChat: This is not only used for just talking. We have also been known to cook dinner together, watch movies/tv shows together, and dye Easter eggs together on skype. We also would do a lot of homework/reading while on skype. Not a lot of talking but the next best thing to actually studying together.
- Doing something together while we are apart: This summer, when we couldn't talk during the week, we both decided to only drink water while we were apart. Knowing that he was doing the same thing every time I ordered water or refrained from drinking coffee was comforting.
- Text messages- Ok, this sounds so silly, I know... But Nick didn't have text messaging on his phone until a little after we had started dating. I can't imagine not being able to text him random questions or thoughts or announcements... Well, I can imagine that, because that is how it is right now. ha. It's pretty lame.
Well, that's all I have for now. If anyone else has any suggestions for long distance relationships, please, feel free to share. We will start another 5 month stretch soon.