How My Husband and I Survived Our Long Distant Relationship…

My husband and I just celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Prior to our union, we dated for a total of four years. Out of those four years, we lived in the same city for one. We met in high school, but didn’t start dating until a few years after graduation. At the time, he was attending Ohio University, about3.5 hours away from Cincinnati, which is where we are both from. We saw each other during summer breaks, weekend visits, and holidays. In between visits, we’d talk on the phone or FaceTime, and of course text through out the day if our schedules allowed.

I will not say those three years living in different cities were easy, but I can say our relationship was pretty much fireproof once we learned how to deal with the distance. Here’s how my husband and I survived living in different cities for three years.

1. Communication (duh)…

In ANY relationship, good communication is needed in order for it to work. So, there’s no secret that it’s even more essential in a long distant relationship. Keith and I had to be creative since our schedules were so full. Instead of fighting so much about never having time to talk, we worked around it.

If we were doing homework at the same time, we had study sessions over FaceTime. We sent good morning and good night text messages everyday. Believe it or not, we sent each other letters in the mail at random to surprise each other with sweet/romantic messages.

Talking every minute of the day is unrealistic, and a bit excessive.

2. Have a Life Outside of the Relationship

Relationships are great, especially when you believe you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. However, it can’t be the only thing you have going for yourself. Waiting around for your significant other to respond to your text message or return your phone call isn’t fun, and honestly, it will drive you crazy.

This was one of our biggest issues in our relationship. We actually broke up for six months because we felt we were too consumed with one another. After taking some time apart and reevaluating our relationship, we were able to see where we went wrong and learn from our mistakes.

We both understood the importance of having a social life outside of our relationship. We spent time pursuing our hobbies. Keith was active in a few groups on campus. I traveled, promoting the book I published. We enjoyed our relationship much more once we had other things going on for ourselves.

3. Planning Visits

Long distant relationships are even more difficult when the two parties are unable to see each other on a consistent basis. This is something we knew we had to be more intentional about. Planning visits ahead of time gave us something to look forward to.

We knew we’d see each other for holidays, summer break, and on a few special occasions. But what about the times in between? Who was going to make the 3 1/2 hour drive? It took us two years to come up with a successful schedule for us to see each other. We decided to carve out one weekend a month; two weekends if it was possible. When it came to the commute, it was easier to take turns. Our arrangement gave us one less thing to argue about.

4. Trust

Before committing to a long distant relationship, you should probably ask yourself if you’re capable of trusting your significant other 100%. Not to sound “braggy”, but this was never an issue for us. I walked into our relationship with SOME trust issues, but Keith quickly proved himself worthy of my trust.

We never gave each other a reason to believe we couldn’t trust one another. Being almost 4 hours away, worrying about the opposite sex was something we never did. Somehow, we knew our relationship was stronger than an attraction to someone of the opposite sex.

5. Power Hours

If I made communication with Keith sound easy, let me set the record straight right now.

Quick phone calls in between meetings. Text messages being returned hours later. FaceTime conversations cut short because of an obligation. These are all things we dealt with and it was frustrating to the both of us. So here’s what we did: we had an hour of uninterrupted time — just me and Keith. We called it our “power hour”. Our power hour was Mondays and Fridays from 12pm-1pm and they were nonnegotiable. If a friend wanted to have lunch, or a co-worker wanted to have a meeting during our power hour, we declined. Nothing trumped our designated, uninterrupted time for one another. This, too eliminated arguments.

6. Prayer

It was important for Keith and I to have God at the center of our relationship. We did not go to sleep (unless we fell asleep after a long day) without praying with one another. We prayed about work, classes, families, and other people’s situations.

Remember that 6 month break up I mentioned earlier? During that time, we prayed about what we should do regarding our relationship. We asked God if we should even be together. We asked him to help forgive each other for any hurt we may have caused the other person during our relationship. We asked him to help us with the struggles within our relationship.

It helped us back then, and it still helps us today in our marriage.

For those wondering how to make your long distant relationship work, I hope one or all of the things I’ve learned helps you and your significant other. Distance requires a lot of work. With the right person, it can be successful!

Dominique :)