Q2. Do long distance relationships work?

06:50:00 Karen Li 0 Comments

Relationship seminar Question 2. Do long distance relationships work? Well do they? It's true in saying that for those that cannot do, they teach. I've never had a long distance relationship before nor have considered them truly viable for a young person until this year. Growing up in this town, where there are limited business opportunities, I see a many "astronaut" couples. What I mean is that the husband would work hard earning money overseas and the wife would be here raising their children in a nice environment. It seemed stressful, they didn't see each other often. But back then I was too young to understand the needs in a long distance relationship.

At the end of last year, one of my best friends decided to get together with a nice young man from church. They had known each other for several years, treating each other as friends. But they got together knowing full well that she would have to go back to her home country for at least a year (this year). It's November, and they are still going strong. They spend hours and hours on the phone to each other each week. They trust each other. And they tell each other if their needs haven't been met. It's tough not to have the person you love by your side but they are making it work.

So this year, I've had a serious think about whether it was possible for me to have a long distance relationship with an extremely busy person. My gut instinct was yes, of course it would work if we loved each other enough. Then my mind started to come up with reasons of why it wouldn't- lack of trust in the other person, the other person not being there when you need them to be, not being able to spend quality time together, not being able to experience major milestones together...me,me,me. I had a chat to my baby brother about this issue a while back. And every relationship has it's challenges. He suggested that I will have to overcome my personal insecurities in order to make any future relationship work. But he also suggested that a long distance relationship is very difficult and will escalate any of my personal insecurities. Of course, all this thinking only means something if there is mutual affection, commitment and care. I think it would be very silly to go into a long distance relationship without mutual affection, commitment and care.

In researching this, and making careful considerations of things that may or may not eventuate in my future, I've had a look at other people's blogs for inspiration. It's not easy. But for some people, it has worked. Some people have told me that if it survives the long distance, their relationship has become stronger. Other people have told me that it's a dreadful strain on their emotional wellbeing and in the end, it's not worth it. So why do some long distance relationships work while others don't?

o   Relationships are based on love (of God and each other), trust, communication, boundaries/expectations
o   If any relationship is to work, these things need to be worked on.
o   Both have to have a firm foundation of love for God and each other
o   Both have to trust in the other person
o   Communication needs need to be balanced. This may mean expressing early on what these needs are.
o   The relationship vision needs to be shared. Both parties need to be clear about what the relationship stands for and what the long term outcomes will be.
o   Personally, I don’t think long distance relationships are a long term solution, though it may be the only solution for some people (e.g. in the army, travel for work, etc) but it’s best to have a plan about how long the long distance part of the relationship will last and what will happen in between (how frequently they will talk, visit) and what happens after (who will have to move, where... etc).
o   It’s important that both parties spend the time apart growing themselves in Christ and personally too.  

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