any advice for a long distance relationship? what tricks and tips can you offer readers (like me) who find themselves in long distance loves?
great question! ryan and I did some version of long distance for most of our relationship & we learned a lot along the way. a couple of things really stand out:
Do normal things. I think it's really important, especially if you're considering marriage, to know if you can do normal things together (run errands, cook, sit in the same room quietly doing different things) -- and long distance relationships make that really tough. Your time together is so precious and the reality is one of you is on vacation when you're together (& that makes the other person feel like they are to!). Growing up, my parents talked about when they were dating and my dad would drive up from Duke, where he was in law school, to visit my mom, who was working in DC. They would spend Saturday running errands. I remember being fascinated by that as a kid (just imagining your parents existed before you is crazy!) and as I got older, I appreciated what a foundation that laid for their marriage. It also speaks to the fact that my mom and I are unbelievably good at making lists and creating errands! Ryan & I would spend part of our visits grocery shopping, or Ryan would study and I would read, or we'd work on something together.
Read a book together while you're apart. What happens when you're long distance is when you talk, it often ends up being a re-cap of your day or the biggest things in your life. You lose the ability to experience things together (go for a walk, see a movie, etc.) We felt like it was important to keep experiencing things together, so we read books together. We'd decide to read a couple of chapters by a certain date, and then we'd talk about it. We read two books we really loved: Blue Like Jazz (which led to great conversations about our faith) & Michael J. Fox's Always Looking Up (which led to wonderful conversations on a lot of topics).
Speak love. Find ways to show your love -- texting, emailing, talking daily is definitely important, but we would also send letters from time to time, or care packages, or just try to surprise one another. One of my favorite times was when I was home for Christmas and going to breakfast with my best friend at our favorite place. We're getting ready to leave and she says, "oh, I have something for you from Ryan." She pulls out this box and inside was this amazing snow globe of D.C. He could have easily just sent it to my parent's house, but he went out of his way to surprise me and it meant so much.
for those of you who have been in long distance relationships, how did you make it work?
(photo from our early days in d.c. love it.)