Time together is precious and rare in a long-distance relationship. The last thing you want to do is feel like you’ve wasted it.
And yet, too much pressure on a single weekend or break can lead to disappointment. It’s helpful to remember that a visit doesn’t have to be upbeat and exciting all the time.
What matters most is continuing in the healthy development of your relationship. Whether you have a weekend or a month, these three simple ideas can help you make the most of your time together while helping you stay on track with the purpose of dating.
1. Resolve conflicts and uncertainties
It’s easy to avoid arguments out of the fear that you’ll ruin the joy of togetherness. But if you let conflicts simmer on the back burner for too long, your bitterness will burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.
Ephesians 4:31-32, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
If you’re striving to forgive with Christ’s power, you don’t need to fear the outcomes of conflicts. The result will be peace. Peace because you’re confessing sin, peace because you’re practicing gentleness, patience, and mercy, and peace because you’re surrendering the situation to God.
Another topic you may want to clarify while you’re together is any uncertainty about future plans. Are you both on the same page about where you’re going, literally and figuratively?
While the timeline of your relationship might be crystal clear to you, your long-distance boyfriend might be operating on a different calendar. Be proactive in talking about the progress of your relationship before you jump to conclusions.
2. Experience normal life together
Serious conversations are vital, but, at the same time, talking is how you spend the majority of your time apart. Make the most of your time together by sharing some of your less-exciting, ordinary activities.
Can you cook a meal together without someone seizing control of the recipe? Are you willing to wait while one of you attends worship practice? Are you comfortable sitting next to each other and not saying a word?
These ideas may seem boring, but they’re actually a beautiful foreshadowing of your ability to work as a team, stewarding your time, talents and responsibilities for God’s glory. This type of teamwork will be essential in marriage.
Don’t get me wrong — kayaking down the river, attending concerts, eating at fancy restaurants, and embarking on other adventures are all great ways to spend time together. But if these activities are all you ever do, you’ll miss out on the simple beauties of everyday life that will become your everyday reality if you get married.
3. Get to know each other’s families and friends
In a long-distance relationship, you have to work harder to meet other important people in your boyfriend’s life. But why does that matter, anyway?
First, it gives you deeper insight into your boyfriend’s character. You can learn a lot about a person by observing the people who surround him and listening to what they say about him. You can witness how he treats his mother and socially awkward friends. You can learn how he loves the people at his church and workplace.
Interacting with his family and friends also gives him insight into your character. If you really care about him, you’ll show it by caring about the people he cares about.
When you take time to ask about his sister’s career or talk with his roommate about his cat, you’re displaying love to that person as well as your boyfriend. You’re also recognizing that you’re not the only important person in his life.
Finally, spending time together with your families will build their confidence in your relationship. Parents and siblings can be skeptical about long-distance relationships, for good reasons. If they have time to get to know and love your boyfriend personally, they’re less likely to raise their eyebrows and object when you get engaged.
Make the Most of All Your Time
Unfortunately, you’ll have to say goodbye again at some point. Vacations end, school starts up again, and weekends turn into Mondays.
These goodbyes are always difficult, but as the tears dry, remember that your time apart isn’t wasted. The hard work of long-distance relationships is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
In a way, your time apart is limited, too. This season of life is brimming with opportunities to grow in loving Christ and other people. If you’re feeling discouraged about the distance looming between you and the days ahead of you, read these five encouragements for your time apart.