Accessed 19 July 2019.
Long-distance is tough. Nobody said it ain’t. There are some ways, however, to not make it completely suck. If you’re a long way away from your love, check out these tips from a veteran long-distancer about how to make things easier on yourself and your SO (significant other).
Don’t wait for big news
Making a 5-hour video call at the end of a long week the be-all and end-all is not smart. You may bottle up all this information only to find out something has come up and it’s now cancelled. Instead of waiting until you feel like you have something really important to say, call as often as you can - even if it’s for 5 minutes.
Think about it this way: two people living in the same town in a long-term relationship don’t schedule calls like they’re job interviews. They just dial the number and see what happens. If no one picks up, it’s not a big deal. But somehow when it comes to long-distance, we think that someone not picking up is a disaster.
There’s nothing wrong with scheduling calls but a great way to maintain emotional closeness and a natural feel to your relationship is to just call them up when you have a bit of time. If they pick up, bonus. If they don’t, fine. Ten minutes is better than nothing and it doesn’t hurt to try. If video calls are the heroes of modern long-distance relationships, voice calls are the unsung heroes.
Some instances you can voice call that you can’t video call:
- While driving
- In a public place
- Quickly while at a friend’s house for a gathering
- Whilst doing something that requires moving around (put your headphones into your phone and stick the phone in your pocket)
A tip on different platforms to use, rated from best to worst (in my opinion):
- WhatsApp video call
- WhatsApp voice call
- FaceTime (iPhone only)
- Facebook Messenger video call
- Skype (not always reliable with the connection)
Be honest with your SO about your needs and whether you need more time with them. There’s no point pretending to be fine if you’re actually going to build up bitterness towards them in your heart.
Protect your purity and be honest with yourself
Some say that being away from your boyfriend/girlfriend means you can’t compromise your purity before marriage. While yes, you can’t sleep together if you’re in separate towns/states/countries, there are other, more seemingly innocent ways you can compromise that are not only falling into sin but actually make your separation and overall relationship harder.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians chapter 5, verse 15, NIV)”. This scripture means that if we keep close to the Holy Spirit and listen to Him, He gives us the strength to make wise and godly choices that will set us up for long-term success.
While I actually recommend sending selfies and photos of what you’re doing (or even your outfit for the day) so that your partner can feel involved in your day to day life, photos can be a very risky area in long-distance relationships.
With ‘virtual’ stuff it’s so easy to lie to ourselves and say that it doesn’t really matter, but if you feel a hesitation or sense of guilt in your spirit about it, you should pay attention. The question should not be ‘What can we get away with?’ but ‘Does this help us pursue godly purity and draw us closer to Jesus?’.
As a side note, maintaining purity will feel ten times harder in those rare days or weeks you spend together so I recommend each being accountable to a trusted Christian who is the same gender as you and at least a few years older.
Plan creative dates
Whether it’s playing battleships over a Skype date or pressing play on a movie at the same time, ‘spending time together’ in a virtual sense is a great way to combat the ‘all we do is talk’ dilemma.
Here is a list of 15 creative long-distance activities that you can do together over a call:
1. Sketch a portrait of each other
2. Play trivia games
3. Watch a TV series and chat and discuss it
4. Read aloud to each other
5. Have dinner (a meal) together
6. Record a virtual tour of your neighbourhood with Google Earth Tour Builder and do a running commentary to explain your home and usual hang outs
7. Screen sharing for a joint activity
8. Play Battleships or Bananagrams
9. Design your dream house together
10. Take personality tests together
11. On a video call have one person turn their side on mute and the other person lip read and try to guess what they’re saying
12. Play 20 Questions
13. Learn a language together
14. Each teach each other something over a video call
15. Select each other’s outfits for the day or an occasion
Keep busy and find contentment while you wait
My husband and I sometimes knew how long it would be before we’d see each other again but after we got engaged, we didn’t know how long our next separation would last. Taking up a hobby or volunteering your time in your church or local community can keep your mind off your tough situation.
Find your contentment in God while you wait and trust that He will enable you to “Rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians chapter 4, verse 4, NIV)”. If He commands it in His word, the Holy Spirit will enable you to walk it out.
Paul says in Philippians chapter 4, verse 12(NIV)that he has “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” By the way, I realise that in reality this can be a daily struggle.
Be wise with your in-person visits
Everyone and their mother are going to want to get a piece of you on your visits to see each other. They all phrase it as ‘just one dinner’ or ‘just a quick coffee’ but it all adds up and while it’s lovely that they want to get to know your boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s crucial to prioritise time alone.
Of course you should schedule some quality time with parents, siblings and other really important people in your life, but don’t book your whole trip up because you’ll most likely get back on the plane (or in the car) at the end of your trip feeling frustrated and completely exhausted.
People get that you guys barely get to see each other, but they don’t. It’s hard for people who have never done long-distance to truly understand what it’s like but if you feel overwhelmed it’s best to graciously decline and explain that you have limited time and energy. A great idea is to have a gathering where you two can catch up with heaps of people at once.
To be continued…
Lil van Wyngaard is a staff writer for a Melbourne based stationery company. She also blogs on the side and has her first book in the drafting stages (planning to submit for publication later this year). Lil is an extrovert and loves entertaining at her home with her husband Jacques, and can often be found reading or at the gym. She is a content creator/marketer, educated at Deakin University and also has a passion for all types of dance. Lil worships at New Gen City Church and is involved in youth and young adult ministry with her husband.
Lil van Wyngaard is a Melbourne-based publishing company in a marketing and sales role. She also blogs on the side and has her first book in the drafting stages (planning to submit for publication later this year). Lil is an extrovert and loves entertaining at her home with her husband, Jacques, and can often be found reading or at the gym. She is a content creator/marketer, educated at Deakin University and also has a passion for all types of dance. Lil worships at New Gen City Church and is involved in youth and young adult ministry with her husband. You can find more of Lil’s articles at: https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/Lil-Van-Wyngaard.html