You want to know if a long-distance relationship (LDR) can really work. Can it work, and if so, how do you make it work? They can be scary and full of uncertainty, but we’ve got you covered with some tips on how to make it work.
LDRs will always require two equally committed partners to make it work. But here’s the good news: YES, IT CAN WORK!
The world has become smaller thanks to the internet, and LDRs are actually becoming commonplace nowadays. There are even Christian dating sites that promote LDRs by crossing national and international borders. If you’re thinking about or already in a long-distance relationship, following this guide will give your LDR the best shot at success.
Make a Plan
No romantic relationship should ever be aimless, and that’s particularly true for an LDR. There should always be a mutual goal for the couple to achieve, especially in an LDR. In other words, as a couple, you need to make a plan that you can work together to accomplish.
The first objective for every new LDR is to make a plan to meet one another. Whether you met the person online or have been with them for years, meeting up together is the first goal when the distance becomes an issue. This initial milestone must be achieved for an LDR to have a chance at success.
If you’ve already met each other, then make a plan to achieve the next milestone of your relationship. This can be as elaborate as relocating to live closer together or as simple as completing the next visit together. The current stage and pace of your relationship will dictate the size of the next milestone that needs to be achieved.
Make a Schedule
Every plan needs a schedule to ensure that things are running smoothly. The individual schedules of each partner will inform the corporate schedule of the couple. Together, you should create a feasible outline of how to accomplish the plan with equal responsibility for both partners.
However, equal responsibility doesn’t mean that both partners should have the same responsibilities. As a couple, each partner will have strengths and weaknesses that should be reflected by their part in the schedule. For instance, it’s possible that one partner will be more task-oriented than the other. That person should probably be in charge of making the schedule itself, but both people should be responsible for contributing to it and accomplishing its goals.
Additionally, not all schedules run according to the same timelines. A schedule for a short visit shouldn’t take as long to accomplish as a schedule to relocate residences. The size of the plan dictates the timeframe of the schedule.
Make a To-Do List
Every schedule needs a to-do list to ensure that goals are being met. To-do lists are the building blocks of the entire plan. They mark a progression in the schedule.
A good to-do list shouldn’t be too long or too short. A great range is between 3-5 items to check off for each list. If you fail to complete a to-do list, then shorten the list of items for the next one and catch up one item at a time while the schedule progresses.
One or two incomplete tasks don’t necessarily need to hold up the entire schedule. Just be sure to make up for the lost time. Steadily gaining back the ground you’ve lost still keeps the schedule on track.
Make Time for Each Other
This is the most important part of the plan, the schedule, and the to-do list. Everything else in this article is aiming to complete check marks and checkpoints, but this is where the spontaneous can finally come out to play. Don’t forget to make time for each other.
Unlike the rest of this advice, this step isn’t meant to be a cog in the design. Rather, this is the design for all the cogs. It’s both the centerpiece and in the periphery of the plan. Forgetting to make time for each other will doom your goals and your relationship to future failure.
Sacrificial love is and always will be a key component of a successful relationship, no matter the distance. Spontaneous phone calls and texts, a well-timed bouquet or gift, and loving displays of romance that cost you time and energy to complete are all intangible puzzle pieces that carry extraordinary value for the relationship. They combine to fuel each partner’s motivation to complete the to-do list, follow the schedule, and stick to the plan.
The obstacle of distance is also an opportunity for innovation. Finding a mutual hobby that isn’t affected by the distance is a great way to make the best of your current situation. You might even discover a shared interest that both of you never would have discovered any other way. Make time for each other and watch how the relationship grows despite the distance.
Make Time for God
We saved this step for last so that you’d remember to put it first. It’s the most important part of the entire process. Without inviting God to sustain the relationship, you’re inviting the enemy to destroy it.
At a minimum, we suggest consecrating a weekly prayer time together. John Vernon McGee said, “Holiness is to the spiritual life what health is to the physical life,” and nothing could be closer to the truth. Your spiritual relationship with God is marked by your lifestyle habits, and one of them is carving out time to grow your personal relationship with Him. As a couple, you should want to pray together because it’s a natural defense against the schemes of the enemy.
In Christian dating circles, it’s widely known that couples who pray together stay together. There’s a reason for that. We encourage you to incorporate prayer into your plan, schedule, and to-do lists as part of the time you make for each other.