Its Valentine’s Day tomorrow. Whether you celebrate it with as much gusto as a bin of oversized teddy bears at Wal-Mart, hide in your room with a box of chocolates and You’ve Got Mail, or ask people the date every chance you get to prove that you really aren’t paying attention to the fact that its February 14th and you don’t have a date, these thoughts are for you….
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.
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.
I hope you are having an amazing Monday.
I wanted to share with you about my weekend because it was the best weekend of my summer!
I went to College Station, TX, and I helped my roommate of three years, Katy, walk down the aisle and marry the man of her dreams.
It was such a beautiful wedding, and God gave us a miraculous cold front and breeze for the morning photo shoot outside. If you are from Texas, you can understand how miraculous a cool breeze can feel on a typically stifling August morning. It wasn’t humid, I barely sweated, and the beautiful bride was completely comfortable in her layers of stunning white .
The reason this wedding was the highlight of my summer, is for one simple reason it was a celebration of the goodness and faithfulness of God.
At the rehearsal dinner I told a story about how every Friday night during our excruciatingly long single years we (Katy, myself, and another roommate) would gather in our pj’s in our living room. I would smash a few soft avocados into smooth velvety submission, zesting the dip with lemon juice and garlic salt. My guacamole, became a staple of our Friday night roommate time, along with rich conversation about our busy weeks.
Tears and tissue were passed around the living room freely because of one topic…men…
The distinct lack of men in our lives, along with the multiple wedding invitations, save the date magnets and engagement announcements which paraded across our fridge singing a taunt of loneliness and fear. Fear that because we were in our late twenties and early thirties, we had been forgotten. I wondered if the movie 27 dresses was actually a secret documentary about our lives. We would pray, we would cry, we complained, we questioned… “WHERE IS MY HUSBAND!” so many times….and yet every time we would pray together my heart grew with confidence that God was preparing a man for each of us.
We ended most Friday night, vegging out watching our favorite reality wedding shows, like Four Weddings and Say Yes to the Dress. We would wipe our eyes, and dream…giggling like 3 junior high girls, about where we would get married, what our wedding dress would look like and of course who the groom would be!
As I watched as the most stunning bride walked down the aisle to marry her best friend, her lover, the groom God had been preparing all along – when getting married seemed as plausible as a cool front, in the middle of Texas, on a typically scorching August morning – my heart (and tear ducts) burst with thankfulness.
On those Friday nights, when our relationship futures seemed bleak and despair whispered lies in our ears like a close friend…we had prayed to and been heard by an extraordinary, Father.
For a year and a half I put this verse on the door of our duplex I shared with my roomates.
I posted it as a declaration over myself and my roommates, that God was big enough to bring our husbands, and that even when we saw nothing changing in the natural realm that He was bringing promises to fruition in unseen places.
Katy, you are a warrior, and overcomer, you have laughed in the face of the enemy through every attempt he made to steal your joy and hope in the area of marriage. You have fought with unrelenting fierceness, you have held onto to the truth that God is good, and today I rejoice with you because you are experiencing “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)
Please Share! (I love comments) Have you seen the Lord bring to pass a promise that you had prayed and believed for? I would love to hear about it, reading testimonies of breakthrough can build our faith in a powerful way!
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.