What are Helpful Resources for a Long Distance Relationship?
- Kris Swiatocho and Cliff Young The Singles Network Ministries, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2015 27 May
EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to email@example.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: I have recently begun dating someone who is wonderful in every way. I see so much potential in our relationship and I want for us to grow together both emotionally and spiritually. I believe it is very important for couples to grow in their faith together, and it can be hard to do that in a long distance relationship, because we cannot go to church together. Can you point me to some resources for long distance relationships? A couple's devotional, books, articles, websites, or tips would be much appreciated!
Having been in an occupation where I have spent upwards of two hundred days a year away from my home, I have had to learn, maintain and incorporate strategies in order to grow a long-distance relationship and I applaud you for seeking new ways in your own.
Communication is first and foremost, and technology has aided in maintaining connectedness to those away from each other.
Texting and emailing to “fill-in” moments where a longer and more personal conversation is not possible is fine; however, don’t rely on these due to the possible misinterpretation of your true intention due to loss of inflection and context. These forms can often be misunderstood and shouldn’t be a substitute for actual conversations. A better alternative would be to Skype or FaceTime so you can visually see the other person.
As for resources you can discuss while apart, I would suggest focusing on those which will help you to discover who you are and how that influences your relationships.
- The Blessing – Gary Smalley and John Trent explores how we were raised influences how we often treat others, and methods to overcome it.
- Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman helps you to discover your personal “love language” so you’ll know what fills your “love tank” along with understanding the actions necessary to fill your partner’s.
- Love and Respect – Dr. Emerson Eggerichs delves into the differences between communication styles men and women have, in order to identify and stop the cycles we often find ourselves in.
Since you are not able to attend church together physically, I recommend you both view a church which has an online service. If your home church does not provide one, seek out one you can both watch and share in.
Of course Crosswalk.com has a variety of channels and articles on a number of topics which would help you both to grow including family, children, finances and home life.
See this period of separation in your relationship as not necessarily an obstacle but rather a great opportunity to nurture your relationship. The greatest advantage in being long-distance is not having the physical aspect to contend with which can actually obstruct and inhibit your relationship. You both will need to learn to communicate without the temptation of being physical.
Yes, long distance relationships can add some difficulties because you are not able to be around each other to fully experience the relationship. You are not able to see how they deal with various issues, other people including family, how they handle stress and so forth. You are not always able to see how they relate to God, or how God is working through. I encourage you to take your time in getting to know this person as much as possible before making decisions to move there or vice versa. As you talk more, Skype more, share more, start to ask those harder questions. Then, after much prayer (including agreement of some accountable friends, pastor, and leaders on both sides) visit each other in a safe location so that you can continue to see if this is what God wants.
Can your long distance relationship work and eventually lead to marriage? Can this marriage be successful? Sure, but like all relationships, the more you know about the person before marriage (first as a friend, then dating, then serious courtship) the better.
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him (Isaiah 64:4).
So, what resources are out there? I would encourage you to go to my website where I have a ton of great resources.
Here are some I recommend you can both be reading and talking about.
- 101 Questions to Ask before you Get Engaged by H. Norman Wright
- Matched for Marriage, Meant for Life by Nate Stevens (great book)
- Love, Sex and Lasting Relationships by Chip Ingram
- Discovering Intimacy: Experiencing Great Commandment Love in Single Adult Relationships: Leader's Guide by David Ferguson (workbook, video, and CD)
- 5 Love Languages for Singles by Gary Chapman
- Boundaries in Dating by Henry Cloud, John Townsend
- Before You Say "I Do": A Marriage Preparation Manual for Couples by Norman Wright, Wes Roberts (very good!)
- This free video series
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is ... Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of three books.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.
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