We wake up together, we drive to work together, we have lunch together, go to staff meetings together, drive home together, go grocery shopping together, watch TV together, go to sleep together, and then wake up and do it all over again. Together.
There usually isn't an hour in the day that I don't know the general whereabouts of my fella.
I love it.
It wasn't that long ago, though, that we did life pretty well separately.
Trevor and I went to colleges 500 miles apart, and with busy schedules and limited finances, we only got to visit one another about every two months or so.
It was a two hour El ride, eight hours on a Megabus, and then two more hours to get to his place. Most of the time, we spent more time traveling than we did actually spending time together.
Even after the weekend we got engaged, I went back to college and he went back to college and we knew we wouldn't see one another for a couple months.
But safely on this side of history, I can say that it was hard, but it was so good for us.
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(I know, that sounds terrible. You don't have to tell him I said that. I told him that like four years ago, so we can move on.)
We'd barely started dating when the distance thing came into play. A week, actually. We dated for a week, and then we were flung apart. I honestly thought I'd never hear from him again. Long distance relationships never last, you know.
But he called. And called. And called again. (I was happy about that.) And four long years later, we were engaged and planning a life together.
It turned out that with the right person, dating long distance isn't such a bad thing. Hard? Yes. Lonely? Sometimes. But being so far apart for so long actually helped us build a strong foundation for our marriage.
Oh yes. Having a boyfriend five hundred miles away required major commitment right from the start. We had to make one another a priority, even in our busy lives and busy schedules. Without committing to this thing, we could have easily let our relationship slip and fall through the cracks.
Traveling 10+ hours just to see one another is work. Our relationship wasn't easy. It cost money. It cost us lots and lots of time. It cost us both emotionally, too- missing one another is hard! But through it all, we stuck with it.
And, obviously, marriage requires commitment, too. Even when we're super busy, or when things aren't going right, I know that he's got my back. We're in this together, committed to each other. Even in the hard stuff, even in the struggle. That started way back in the Megabus days.
2) We Actually Liked Each Other
Honestly, in a lot of relationships, the couple doesn't really like each other.
Sounds crazy, I know, but when the physical stuff goes faster than the emotional stuff, all that physical affection can make you unsure of if you actually like the guy, or if your hormones are warping your feelings.
Our bodies and our souls are connected- God made us that way- and what we do with our bodies affects our souls. Confusing yourself into caring about someone because your hand feels nice in his hand or because he gives great hugs means that relationships often continue despite incompatibility, or even in spite of the Holy Spirit's nudging.
Without the physical stuff to get in the way, we got to know one another for who we are. We noticed our similarities, and our incredible-but-somehow-complementary differences, without the cuddling and hand holding to make things confusing.
The hugs and hand holding grew out of the way we felt about each other, not the other way around.
|Awww, so cheesy.|
If there was one major benefit to dating long distance, this was it.
We talked all the time. Because what else could we do together? Most nights, we would talk for upwards of two hours. Really.
We learned so much about each other that way. We knew all about each other's dreams, childhoods, funny sibling stories, successes, role models... we got to know each other's character, passions, morals... I felt like I really knew him.
Communication was so vital to every part of our relationship- we became really good at making plans for visits and scheduling phone calls. We solved logistical problems together- discussed navigating downtown Chicago, planned our adventures.
Of course, the way we communicate has changed since getting married. We don't sit and talk for hours on end anymore. Our strong foundation on good communication has really helped us, though- when we do argue, I feel like I kind of know where he's coming from- I know his character and what makes him tick.
(And what makes him ticked off.)
I'm still learning, of course, and I think I always will be learning, but I know how to talk to him about stuff, no matter what it is.
And you know? All those conversations led us to being best friends.
4) We Made the Most of Time Together
When we did get to see one another, we truly valued the time we had together.
Sure, we did watch movies together during our visits, but we also explored Chicago, tried new foods, went on hikes, bought a turtle, cooked together, went to concerts, played games, spent time with friends, learned new things.
Our time together was short, and we made as many memories as we could during our every-two-month weekends. Our relationship was much deeper than it otherwise might have been, because we didn't just "hang out"- we experienced things together.
I tend to be a little (*cough,* a lot, *cough*) bossy and controlling. I like being in charge. But with Trevor being so far away, I couldn't be a "helicopter-girlfriend." I couldn't be overly opinionated about his friendships or his daily activities or what shirt he wore, because I wasn't there.
I had to make a decision to trust him.
And he had to do the same for me. He had to trust that I knew what I was doing with taking that double-overnight shift, that I could handle myself downtown, that student teaching wasn't killing me.
That trust has spilled over into our marriage, as well.
As my husband, he's the leader of our little family. Trevor typically asks my opinion (even on things that I really don't know a thing about), but ultimately, what he says goes. I trust him to make wise decisions for our family, and he trusts me to be open and honest with him about how I'm feeling and what I think.
I remember the last time I took the Megabus to visit Trevor. I remember feeling a little sad- it was the end of an era! - but mostly relieved. And a little bit like I had to pee, but my goodness, I was NOT going in that bus bathroom.
By that point, we were engaged and planning our wedding; preparing for a life together. Finally, really together. It was like a dream come true, really. Dating the guy who would become my husband was nothing like I thought it would be- it was somehow better.
Were those four years hard? Heck yes.
Would I change them? No way.
God used a difficult situation to bring about a strong foundation for our marriage- once again, my story depends on God completely changing my expectations and working all things for our good.
Like most meaningful experiences in life, yeah, it sucked. But it was also super awesome.
P.S.- On a semi-related note:
Another thing that made an incredible difference in building a foundation for our marriage was a commitment to Christ, right from the start. Of course, being long distance has nothing to do with that- I believe a relationship centered on Jesus is important in any dating relationship.
We talked about church services we attended, read Bible passages to one another, and did a devotional together. We used this one, primarily:
and it was a great way to come to a common ground about God, our values and morals, and the calling God had for our lives. I'd recommend it.
I haven't read this one, but it looks good, too:
... and here's a list from Carlo and Patricia Victa about books they read before they got married (good recommendations, here, too!)
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