The thought of preparing for a long-distance relationship can be scary. If you’ve never spent much time away from each other, you may wonder how you’ll survive.
Long-distance is often excruciating, but it’s also not as horrible and hopeless as some people make it out to be. In fact, research shows that many long-distance relationships flourish.
Maybe your boyfriend is starting college, or you’re heading out-of-state for a summer internship. Whatever your situation, following these three steps can help you prepare yourself emotionally for your upcoming separation.
1. Seek contentment outside your boyfriend
The best way you can prepare yourself for a long-distance relationship (or any season of suffering) is to seek Jesus Christ with all your heart. Maybe that sounds simplistic, but I truly believe it’s the secret to surviving separation.
Philippians 4:12-13 touches on this. “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” — whether living near my boyfriend or away from him — “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Only Jesus can meet your deepest needs for love, affection, comfort, and meaning. If you look to your significant other for these things, I can tell you from personal experience that you’ll only end up disappointed and bitter.
As you prepare for a long-distance relationship, the most valuable thing you can do is constantly seek Christ as your greatest joy and satisfaction. You can begin evaluating where your heart’s at in this area by reflecting on these four signs that you love your boyfriend more than God.
2. Determine your purpose in dating
Before the distance begins, it may be helpful for the two of you to talk about why you’re dating.
Without a clear focus and direction for the future, the distance becomes even harder to endure, and at times, it can become unhealthy. If your purpose in dating is simply to flirt or have fun, distance will destroy your relationship.
An honest, intentional conversation about your hopes and goals for the relationship can help you determine if you’re both on the same page. If you haven’t already, I recommend reading about the purpose of Christian dating and the meaning of marriage to guide your conversation.
3. Tentatively plan a visit
Hope is powerful. A fulfilled hope delights the heart, but a failed hope discourages it.
If you’re feeling sad about future separation, look at the calendar for opportunities to visit each other, like Thanksgiving break or a conference happening where your boyfriend lives. You can tentatively make plans and look forward to these sweet reunions.
However, it’s a good idea to wait a little while before establishing concrete plans. If you set all of your hopes on a visit and someone has to cancel, the weight of your built-up expectations will be difficult to bear.
If cost is an obstacle to visiting each other, these 36 money-saving tips for long-distance driving might help if you’re within driving distance.
Get a head start
The last way you can prepare for a long-distance relationship is by learning about common challenges on the road ahead. Once you know what’s ahead, you can strengthen your defenses and take a proactive stance.
Get a head start on these challenges by answering the question in the box below. Select the answer that you’re most worried about for your upcoming long-distance relationship, and I’ll send you free resources to encourage you about that specific concern.
Don’t forget — you’re not alone in this.