Our Long-Distance Relationship was Super Awesome. | The Speckled Goat: Our Long-Distance Relationship was Super Awesome.


Our Long-Distance Relationship was Super Awesome.

Trevor and I spend a lot of time together.


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.

hand embroidery decoration cute heart home lettering long distance dating

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.

It sucked. 

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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Honestly, I really didn't think that Trevor and I would last.

(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.

1) Commitment. 

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. 

3) Communication.

If there was one major benefit to dating long distance, this was it.

We talked.

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.

5) Trust. 

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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  1. Ah, your post got me started on a walk down memory lane. My husband and I dated for 7 years before we married. Of those 7 years, we lived in the same state for only 2 years. (And we're old, so there were no cell phones or Skype or any other helpful technology besides phones. With chords.) Everything you said is true for us, too. I have always said that our first years of marriage weren't all that difficult, because we had done the difficult before we married. We were just thrilled to actually be together every day.
    That "cheesy" photo made me smile. :)

    1. Phones with cords?!??! What even ARE those? (I joke, I joke).

      I've heard that the first few years of marriage can be the hardest in terms of transitioning and so forth, but we didn't experience that, either. I think you're right- when you start out with difficult, things somehow get easier from there.

  2. Oh my gosh! I can totally relate to this. My boyfriend was in the military and stationed on the other side of the country for 3 1/2 years. You're right, it totally sucks! But there are so many things about it that I actually liked. #4 for sure! You're right, it definitely strengthens a relationship! LOVE this post!

    1. I can't imagine being that far away-- 500 miles was plenty for us! =) I'm glad that God used the distance to strengthen your relationship!

  3. Love this! We were long-distance (several states away) all the way up until marriage, and only saw each other once every 5-6 weeks most months. Totally agree with all of your points- there were hard points but it was such a blessing!

    1. We did this until marriage, too- although the distances got a little shorter (the last year before we were married, we were only about 2 hours away... day trips to see him was a whole new, wonderful world!)

      God often works through those hard things- I'm glad you found the blessings!

  4. Great post as usual Ally. My husband and I dated for 4 years with me living in a different country. As soon as my school closed (I was a teacher) for holidays I was on a plane for 2 weeks at most a month then back again. Communication and commitment were especially important for us being soooo far apart. 1000s and 1000s of calls and emails. High bills, plane tickets.. lol. This year would be 9 years together and 5 years married.. lol.. WOW!!

    1. Aw, you're sweet, Renz. A different country-- I just can't imagine that. The cost of plane tickets must have been insane! I'm glad the two of you stuck through it and now have a beautiful marriage!

  5. I love the idea of having to connect without the physical stuff getting in the way! I think so often it does get in the way. With a long distance relationship you can focus on the person underneath - the one that will be left when you're 90 and smooth skin is long since over.

    1. Yeah, I agree. The physical stuff can be so confusing, and distance really made a difference for us. It fostered a wonderful, lasting friendship.

  6. I agree with everything your said! My now hubby and I dated long-distance for 1.5years before getting married and it was tough in a lot of ways, but it also brought us together in so many unique ways we are now thankful for. And we treasure every day we get to be together now because we know the pain of being apart from one another. We would see each other every 6-8 weeks and it was hard at times to show our love for each other since our love languages are best done side by side (our top two are serving and quality time), so it took time to communicate our love and find ways to love each other in the ways we each receive best. Now, it is so much easier in a lot of ways to communicate, mainly because we don't have to deal with stuff 2,000 miles away and through a computer screen!

    1. Those creative ways to show love are so important. My hubby primarily thrives on physical touch- foot rubs and back scratching, mostly- and that was tough from so far away... so I took advantage of the time together (and gave lots of shoulder rubs in the car!)

  7. Great post Ally! Totally agree with this. My hubby and I dated long distance too... before long distance plans and any of the newer technology that make it a bit easier now. We had 1 phone bill from our first month of dating that was $400!! Not sure how we even paid for it because we were both students at the time. Thanks for sharing your story!

  8. My husband and I lived 750 miles apart for 3 years at the beginning of our relationship. Lots of phone cards for the 2+ hour a night chats. He came to dread the "I have a question for you", but it made a huge difference in getting to really know him. We talked more back in the day then we do now sitting side by side!! Perfect way to begin a relationship! Great post that took me back to the days of courting - thank you!!

  9. I could relate to much of this and thank you much for bringing back the good memories. Our story is a little different in that we were only long-distance for 8 months, but then, we were only together for 8 months before we got married and the extreme long distance thing was a major factor in our rush to get married, because not living in the same state or country gets old after a while! Let me see--in 2010 we become 'official' on March 23rd in MI, on March 24th he hopped on a plane to TX. Next time I saw him was July 1st, in Malaysia, where he'd come to visit me and my family. He proposed on July 2nd. So we literally saw each other all of 48 hours between when we started our relationship and when we got engaged. Then after we got engaged I didn't see him for another two months until I returned to the USA and quick made a trip to TX to meet his family before my next semester of school started. And then we got married Dec. 4th and it felt like "Finally!!!!" The phone calls were just a part of life back then--I was on a family cell phone plan with my grandparents and uncle and eyebrows raised when my minutes usage on the bill suddenly shot up from about 100 a month to 1,500+ per month. What can I say? Love. Good news was that we both used AT&T so it didn't cost a dime. I had actually known my husband for a couple years before we started going out--we were friends in college and he graduated and moved away, so I had spent time with him, but all my memories of actually doing anything with him pre-marriage was when we were just friends and he had a girlfriend so I guess those are the traditional memories...

  10. What a sweet little post! I love your picture at the top too - so cute, did you make that?
    You have your marriage set on a firm foundation, and with God has the head of your household, you two will be able to face anything together. You made very good points about how the relationship worked. Long distance relationships are HARD and thankfully I only had to be away from my honey for one year while we were dating and not four!
    (We've been married 28 years now - that was a LONG time ago!)
    Thanks for joining us for Tuesday Talk, be sure to link back again next week!

  11. Long distance relationships are hard. We weren't that far away, but I remember chatting on AIM and using calling cards to talk (before we each had our own cell phone!). It is hard at the time, but you're so right in everything you said about how much it strengthens your relationship. I love how you kept God at the center the whole time too. We tried to do that too - we prayed and read & discussed spiritual books together when we were apart. I'll have to check out those books you mentioned for my younger unmarried siblings :) Thanks for sharing this with us for Tuesday Talk! -Jessica, Sweet Little Ones