If you are already married or engaged…please stay with us!!! I want your insight at the end of this post!
Yesterday we discussed how a the analogy of a stoplight can give helpful guidelines for who to date and who not to date. Read more for insight on how to know if a guy is in the Red Light Zone
Yellow Light Guys:
A guy in the yellow light zone is a man free from some of the obvious signs of danger. He is probably articulate, intelligent, handsome and has a job. He may even be a leader in the community and in your church.
I remember it being one of my favorite games to play as a kid.
Advice on Having Successful Long Distance Dating Relationships, Part 3
Last Wednesday I gave you three pieces of advice on how to have a successful long distance dating relationship, through my experience of dating long distance.
Last Tuesday we heard from a guest writer, Heather who shared her story of long distance dating, engagement and separation as a married women because her husband is a Navy Pilot.
Today we conclude our series, with 3 more thoughts about finding success in long distance relationships.
4. Get some face time together! I felt more connected to Rene when we were able to talk on skype at least a few days a week. Seeing him made me feel like he was closer and also helped us grow in understanding eachother’s non – verbal communication.
5. Create a shared experience: We read through the books, For Women Only and For Men Only, by Shaunti and Jeff Feldham. We each read the books for our own gender (i.e. I first read For Women Only) and highlighted the parts that were applicable to us. Then we switched books so the other person could see which points of the book were most important to the other person. This gave us a non – threatening way to improve our communication skills and understanding of eachother.
6. Reflect on the positives: Its so easy in a long distance relationship to get hung up on the negatives, wishing that the other person lived near you, the annoyance and expense of travel, the pain of being separated, and the weddings and special events you still attend “dateless” because your date is far away.
I can see how God used the season of long distance dating to prepare us for a healthy marriage:
– It improved our communication, and when we got married we weren’t surprised by the amount of in depth communication you need on a daily basis.
– It solidified for me, that this was a person I did not want to live without.
– When we saw eachother on weekends it was a very special time. We made an intentional effort to explore together, try new things, do activities together… we were trying to squeeze a week of dating into a weekend. We have so many sweet and fun memories of our time dating, from pumpkin patch visits, to painting projects, travelling together, and playing bocce ball. The intentionality we put into planning our weekends, helped solidify our resolve to still “date” even after getting married. Now we have a date night every week. It is something I look forward to every week, and it continues to refresh us and knit our hearts together.
– The resources, (emotional and financial) we put into travelling and communicating made me realize that together we could conquer anything! We both sacrificed a lot during this period of time so that we could develop our relationship, but I would do it again with no hesitation. To flourish in a long distance relationships you each have to be 100% committed to make it work. Seeing his commitment to our relationship thriving regardless of circumstances helped confirm to me that he was the man I wanted to marry.
What about you? What are some things you have learned about thriving in a relationship, whether long distance or close -by?
As I mentioned yesterday…. in Part 1 of “Advice on Having Successful Long Distance Relationships”– If you missed it: http://claritywithcharity.com/?p=544
My husband and I spent the entire course of our relationship before marriage being separated by a approximately 5 hour drive. I say approximately because my husband always managed to make it in 4 ½ hours and it always took me at least 5 hours. I can’t help it that I drive like a Granny who is perpetually paranoid of getting a speeding ticket, and that when I would call friends on my drive I would get so absorbed in our conversation that I would catch myself driving below the speed limit.
We met on e-harmony, and like a growing number of couples who are dating long distance because of making an online connection, we navigated some untraditional methods of communication and dating. Skype and our cell phones were our primary tools but despite the incredible technology we used, we found ourselves facing a unique set of challenges than a “typical” dating couple.
Today I am sharing with you the top things we learned about how to thrive and find success in a long distance dating relationship.
1. Plan times to talk: It may not sound like the most romantic thing in the world, but because we were long distance it was important to talk about our schedules at least the day before so that we could find a good time to talk. When we didn’t plan in advance, inevitably I would miss his call when I was at my work out class or a meeting. Instead of playing phone/skype tag, a few moments of conversation can give you some clarity as you plan your day.
2. Sometimes there will be awkward pauses: I am a talker, I have never met a stranger, and could carry on a conversation with a brick wall if necessary. There are few times, and even fewer people that I feel ok just being quiet with. This isn’t one of my greatest qualities, and I am learning to be better with the silence…but I was not ok with the silence on the phone or skype with my boyfriend. Especially, at the beginning of our dating relationship, I would wonder,
“Why is it quiet? Is he thinking I’m boring…oh no…must think of something cool to say!”…than I would end up asking some dum ice breaker question like “what kind of animal are you most like?”..and the silence would get even quieter….because my husband hates those kinds of questions.
One day it hit me….
When you talk to someone on the phone or skype everday 5 days in a row, sometimes you aren’t going to have anything to talk about. Because how many people do you talk to 5 days in a row for at least an hour straight without the interruptions of eating, watching tv, folding the laundry, going on a walk ect..?
There is going to be silence…and that is ok!
Some days we would talk for an hour and a half and it felt like 15 minutes, some days we both had boring days, were tierd and really just wished we could be chilling on the couch together watching tv. Our conversation was about 20 minutes those days.
You don’t get chill time in a virtual relationship so it is normal to expect some silences. You can make them awkward moments of panic where you worry that maybe you aren’t compatible or the other person thinks you’re boring. Or you can just remember, its normal to have silences even between the best of friends. Silence can be difficult to handle over the phone, but don’t decide the health of your relationship based on that.
3. Beware of In person disillusionment: Rene and I saw each other almost every weekend when we dated, but I know many long distance couples who maybe see each other every month or even less. I noticed that every Friday night when I was driving the 5 hours to visit my husband or waiting the 5 hours for him to get to my hometown, my expectation of our “reunion” would grow with every mile.
I would imagine him greeting me with a huge smile, jumping up and down for joy as I pulled into the driveway and then letting out an exuberant scream, “You’re here!” while a few tears would roll down his cheeks as he exclaimed, “I missed you soooooooo much!”
If any of you know my husband, you know this is not his personality at all. What I am describing may have been my reaction upon his arrival, but I can’t think of a single time, Rene pulled up into my driveway shrieking with delight. That’s not his personality or how he reacts, but for some reason I expected our reunions to look like a Hallmark movie scene where a war hero is reunited with his family.
Weekend, after weekend I would feel disappointed as his arrivals were marked by that romantic declaration, “I need to use the bathroom.”
That is the reality of dating long distance, you may see eachother after long weeks, long hours on the road or on a plane and if you are expecting to meet a cheesy character from a Nicolas Sparks novel when you get out of the car, you will be disappointed.
However, if you are expecting to say hello to: a real life imperfect person, with emotions and exhaustion – who has fought traffic and ran through airports to get to you – and this is a person that you love and care about – that you would rather be with more than anyone on the planet – even if they are jet lagged and exhausted..than be thankful because you are living in a real life love story.
Next Week I will share a few more thoughts to wrap up our series on successful long distance relationships. I hope you will join me!
Let me know: Have you or are you in a long distance relationship? What has your experience been like? What advice would you offer?
The lyrics from Grease kept running through my mind as I thought about the series we are beginning, “Advice on Having Successful Long Distance Relationships”
It turned colder, that’s where it ends
So I told her we’d still be friends
Then we made our true love vow
Wonder what she’s doing now
Summer dreams ripped at the seams”
Did you find a love this summer? Are you worried your summertime love will be “ripped at the seams” because of attending separate universities, an impending job transfer, or a military deployment? Are you are facing the entrance of a long distance relationship?
Today, I am thrilled to welcome to our blog for the first time, Heather. Heather is a writer, newlywed and the wife of a Navy pilot. She understands acutely the challenges facing engaged and married couples who are separated. She will be sharing her insights today about how to thrive in a season of separation.
Tomorrow, I will be sharing how to be successful in a long distance dating relationship, reflecting upon the almost 2 years my husband and I spent, building our relationship, dating and spending our engagement long distance.
Blessings through the Distance – By Heather
For most people a “long distance” relationship is not their first choice. Why would it be? Being away from a loved one or meeting someone and starting a long distance relationship is a hard commitment and definitely has its challenges, but it also has its rewards. Most people don’t hear about the blessings and the growth that can come through a long distance relationship, but believe me, as a military wife, there is great reward when Jesus is the author of the distance.
My husband and I have been married just over a year. We met through our church right before he left for a deployment overseas. Honestly, I was grateful for the distance between us because it gave me the opportunity to have wisdom and discernment to know if this relationship was of God or myself.
Sometimes relationships can be based on emotions or the incredible “high” we get when we’re with that person. I think it’s safe to say that those are natural feelings that come with any new relationship and are truly a beautiful thing, but it can also cloud your mind and prevent you from knowing deep in your spirit what God is saying about your relationship. Distance, for me, was a powerful tool to help me think and see clearly that God was the author of this relationship. I had all the same giddy emotions and butterflies that come with the excitement of a relationship, but the distance allowed me to relax, pray, and hear the voice of God.
Distance was also a huge part of my growth. A week after my husband proposed he was sent out on a six month deployment overseas, and once again I was forced to be parted from him. This time was much harder. We only had four months together before he had to leave again and I felt cheated. “I just got him back, Lord. Please don’t take him from me now.” I cried and begged God to allow him to stay. I knew this was what I signed up for when I said “yes” to marrying him. He was worth it in every way but that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be pain or hardship.
I realized very quickly after he left that God had so much He wanted to teach us and have us walk through before we entered into our next stage of marriage. I cannot thank God enough for that precious time my husband and I had with the Lord in our time apart.
God wanted to meet with us and show us where we needed growth and ways we needed to learn from each other, and Him. There was a great deal of dying to self and stripping away layers of insecurities, allowing Jesus to be the center of our relationship. He showed me how to be patient and how to rely on Him through the distance, teaching me that He was carrying us both through this season of our life. It wasn’t easy but when my husband returned home we were stronger and more committed than ever before.
If two wasn’t enough, three would definitely do it. About five months after we were married, my husband once again was called out for another deployment. We knew ahead of time that another was coming but getting the official orders was much harder than I had anticipated. I had just adapted to a whole new life. I was used to having him in our new home, holding me through the day and protecting me through the night. I didn’t know how to do this new season of life without him, and one of my biggest concerns was not having him close.
“Touch” is one of my primary love languages and I knew not having his physical touch would be one of my greatest struggles while he was away. God began to speak and reveal to me that there were more ways to love than what I was used to and communication was one of the gifts God strengthened us in. We found that developing good communication patterns was our strongest asset, and through it we were able to grow stronger and deeper together.
We talked about so many different things that helped our marriage grow leaps and bounds; things that had hurt us, things that we needed, things that made us feel special and loved. Having distance between us caused us to work through the hard things and fight for each other’s heart and happiness.
It has been a long, hard experience walking through a long distance relationship but I wouldn’t trade what God has given us through each time apart, for the world. Something I have come to understand is that if God authors it, God blesses it. It wasn’t the military bringing my husband overseas. It wasn’t orders on paper forcing us to be apart. It was God. It was always God and it will always be God. It’s not to punish or hurt us but to bless us and help us grow. I had plenty of opportunity to whine and complain and to feel sorry for myself while my husband was away, (believe me, there were endless nights where I did). However, something shifted within my spirit and I realized that if God was the one orchestrating the separation then this was a plan for His purpose and we would receive great and abundant blessings from it.
I am not sure if you are in a relationship now or currently debating whether it’s worth it or not. One thing I want to tell you is: if God brings you to it, He will see you through it. God WILL equip you for the journey and through each season of your relationship. Don’t fear the unknown or the fret the distance.
There is great reward for those who wait. Isaiah 40:31 says, “Yet those who wait upon the LORD Will gain new strength.” God has a powerful plan and purpose for all things and if you commit to Him your cares and worries of the season you’re in, approaching, or even one you’re considering, He WILL give you the strength to carry it out and the joy to dance in His blessings.
Finding a Love Who Will Never Leave
This was originally posted at http://www.brooke-nicole.net/2013/08/singleness-series-guest-post-by-charity.html
When I was a teenager, I read an article written by another young woman about singleness. She said she didn’t have a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day, and that it was fine because Jesus was her boyfriend. I thought it was one of dumbest things I had ever read. My response was, “I don’t care how awesome Jesus is, Jesus can’t send you flowers or get you sweet gifts on Valentine’s Day! I would rather a hot boy arrive at my door with a giant stuffed teddy bear and a bouquet of roses then tell everyone that Jesus is my boyfriend, while I go to the store and buy myself Dove chocolate to eat alone.”
Although I disagreed with the article, it placed this question in my mind, “could someone really be ok with being single on Valentine’s Day because they knew Jesus?” I didn’t understand how Jesus could invade my life in such an intimate way that He could be as real as a boyfriend who brings flowers to your door. I had yet to discover Jesus as my lover.
How I knew He was the One!
This article was originally posted at: http://www.amanworthwritingfor.com/
We were about to have a “define the relationship (DTR)” talk. The air smells different; the scenery blurs and turns slower in those moments. That night the air smelled like chlorine and a sweaty college football team. The scene moving slowly around me was a football team having a swim. We sat on the pool patio playing Gin Rummy at the hotel he was staying at while visiting me. In the middle of the game he asked me to be his girlfriend and I said “yes.” Both being competitive, we finished the game. I still maintain that I would have won if I hadn’t been stopped in the middle of it to “talk.” How could I concentrate on a card game after becoming someone’s girlfriend!!!!!???
The beginning of a relationship is exciting and sometimes scary because after the “DTR” comes a bigger question: Is he the one?
God used so many aspects of our dating relationship to help me discover YES! Rene was my husband.
Rene showed me that He was a Godly leader by initiating conversations about his intentions and our purity.
Intentions: He told me his intention was to honor and respect me because I was a daughter of God. He said we were dating with the intention of discovering if we should enter a covenant marriage. I felt so honored and valuable. He wasn’t just dating me because I was pretty, fun or filling a void but because he had a clear purpose for our dating relationship.
Physical Boundaries: We both shared what God had been speaking to us about purity. We to wait to kiss until we were engaged. To make the murky waters of physical boundaries clear, we showed each other physical affection through holding hands and side hugging.
We were also vulnerable with Christian friends (same gender) about how we were doing with these boundaries. Ultimately, physical purity is a matter that begins with our hearts.
1 Samuel 16:7 The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
* These boundary lines may not be the same for every person, and ultimately God knows our heart motivation! If our hearts are committed to purity than our outward expression should fall in line with the goal of honoring God with our bodies, not the goal of how much can I do without having sex?
Fighting together for purity showed me that Rene was serious about obeying God even when it was hard. There has been such good fruit in our marriage because of our commitment to purity! And wow! that first kiss was worth waiting for!
We had the same vision and values for our life. We discovered this through conversation and intentionally experiencing life together by:
Playing! We played cards, bocce ball, played at the beach and painted walls. We learned more about each other through these activities then if we had gone to dinner and a movie.
Reading! We read through “For Women Only” and “For Men Only” by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. I read “For Men Only” and Rene read “For Women Only” first, and highlighted important points. Then we swapped books and discussed. This gave a non threatening way to talk about our needs in a relationship. *Wait to read the chapter about sex, until you are close to your wedding date.
Entering In. Rene and I lived five hours apart during our relationship. We did not attend the same church, have similar friends or careers. Even if you are from the same city there are always things to discover about a person’s background and everyday world.
We understood more of each other as we met each other’s family’s , went to each other’s church’s and talked about our hopes for the future.
Our family, close Christian friends and pastors were supportive of us getting married.
I remember my Aunt telling me Rene could use her engagement ring to propose so he didn’t have to wait and buy one. It brought joy and peace to our hearts to hear from the people who knew us best, that they could see how God had designed us to be together. It is important to hear the feedback from those that know and love you the most about who you are dating.
We both sought the Lord about our relationship and He gave us peace about marriage.
God is our Father and Creator and knows us intricately and completely. Dialoguing with God daily while dating and seeking the truth about what a covenant marriage in the Bible looks like, gave me peace and clarity that this was the man I should covenant my life with.
I would love to hear your thoughts? What qualities are the most important to you in your future spouse? What are questions you want answered before getting married?