Five Things To Know About Long Distance Relationships (Military and Missions)

He’s in the military, I am in missions.

The questions never end, even so close to the wedding.
“Is it difficult?'”
“How do you do it?”
“Do you guys ever talk?”
“Why did you leave him?” or “Why did he leave you?”
“What if he finds someone else?”
At first it was fun to answer these questions, I thought I was so optimistic. But now? I realize when people genuinely care or just doubts that true and faithful love actually exists. I thought it was just a young single person thing, but I started worrying when married women (or worse: newlyweds) mentioned it.

Here are five things to know before getting into (or continuing) a long distance relationship (or engagement)

1. There will always be time to talk.

Even with a six hour time difference or being nations apart, there should always be time made to communicate with each other. At points, it may mean sacrificing sleep. Sometimes both parties have to loose some Zzzz’s to get by with staying on the same page. So much life happens in a day, and if you aren’t bending over backwards to share a sliver of your life with someone else, or bending over backwards to hear about their life… maybe it is time to cut the cord. I don’t know about you, but I love to hear the fascinating adventures of my love. Maybe there would be a lack of a spark if I called, and he was playing the same video game as yesterday, or was “too busy” to make time for me. It’s just like making time to read your bible or drive thru the 15 minute Starbucks line. You make time for what you can’t live without.

2. No one left anyone, it’s called living out our dreams.

I cringe when someone refers to military dudes and chicks or missionaries as “leaving.” “They left their familes behind.” I believe it’s jumping ahead. Jumping at the opportunity to serve and love others as Christ loves us. You can say “leaving,” but we chose to step away from a comfortable life temporarily so others may live free from hate, shame, and condemnation forever.

3. Distance does not influence cheating.

What if one of us finds another… well I guess it depends on if you’re looking for someone else or not. If you go out and you’re looking to give someone attention or receive it, then you’re definitely not ready for a committed relationship. My sister once said, “If someone is going to cheat, why is distance a contender? They could cheat even when you live in the same house, so why would being apart make much of a difference?” I would agree. Would you stay close to someone to slim the odds of them cheating? The way I look at it is: I love Jesus, my future husband loves Jesus, and I love my future husband.” What’s the worst that could happen? He cheats and there’s someone better out there? If I loved the wrong person THIS much, I can’t wait to see how I love the right person for me. Humans will always let us down, but God is the consistent anchor we can holdfast to. God is a JUST and good God. He has a plan for us. So don’t hold someone else’s mistakes against your significant other. There’s two outcomes: you make it to the point of someone else is protecting your heart, or you make it to the point where God protects you from someone not worth giving your heart to.

4. Have fun with it.

Yes, we still have fun and go out. What good would talking do if we were constantly waiting for the other person? Go out for burgers with the boys, get the best brew in town. Go to the beach with your classmates, go wine tasting when you have the once in a lifetime opportunity. All that matters is the intentions behind going out, and the choices made even when no one is watching. We don’t sit at home, with no going out rules, or with any rules at all. If rules have to be set, it means someone has no self control and someone wants to gain full control. I sleep a room next to male teammates, he sleeps a floor next to female coworkers. What matters is, even in the midst of worldly desires and temptation, we walk with integrity, love, honor, faith, and hope in a happily ever after handcrafted by the one who created the stars. When there’s hope like that, what in the world could Satan offer that would be more desirable than true love?

5. Lastly, it isn’t easy… but worth it.

When people ask, my immediate answer has been, “No, it’s easy when both people love Jesus.” Until I’m in a village in the mountains with no Wi-Fi weeks at a time, then I find things I wish I could tell him. I’ll make notes to forward to him, I believe it’s an overflow of friendship. When something wonderful (or terrible) happens, and all you want is for your best friend to know. There is an absence that can not be filled by anyone else, but the Holy Spirit is the ultimate comforter. Even in difficult times, I know that God would not lead me into wasting my time; there is beauty in longsuffering. We come out wiser, discerning what is right and wrong by righteous standards.

Of an eleven month engagement, I’ve seen my fiancé for two months and four days. The next time I see him, will be two days before our wedding. Has it been easy? No. But loving him through any distance or situation has. If I could time travel and give myself advice, I’d say this:
Pray about all things. Pray together. Pray for each others. The world says to fight for what you love, but Jesus did not fight for us. He walked humbly, He loved unconditionally, and laid down His life for us. Love is not hard, distance is not hard, planning a wedding from another country without Wi-Fi is not hard. When I look at the life of Jesus, and see what he had done, does do, and will do for His bride, I see that there is nothing His grace can’t cover. Distance can not phase true love, because even during the times where we are so far from God, He loves us. Even when we live by faith, and not by sight, we love Him. If believing in true love makes me a fool, then I am the happiest fool there ever was.

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