Lessons from Long-Distance Love

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I’m not going to lie – dating long-distance really stinks.

But huzzah! As of a few hours ago, I have now been freed from the shackles of long-distance love as my bride-to-be rode in on her mighty Volkswagen Passat to save me, the man in distress.

Now, she’s sitting behind me – and how good it feels to have feet, not hundreds of miles, in between us. Actually quite literally feet. For some reason she thinks I’m a footstool.

Fifteen Months on the Phone

We’ve learned a lot from these fifteen months of long-distance. We’ve learned to appreciate the moments we have together, to find our satisfaction in God and not the other person, and to cherish each little moment.

Most of those little moments happened on our daily phone conversations.

I feel very blessed to live in the Age of Technology where my fiance was only a phone call away at any moment (if she’d actually pick up!). We prioritized setting aside time each day for a twenty to forty minute conversation.

We had busy lives. She ruled the kingdom of K5 with an iron fist while I dwelled in the land of sorrowful studying (actually, I’m still there!). But we knew the importance of communication in relationships. And looking back, I can count on one hand the number of days we didn’t talk – besides the times I was out of the country.

I cannot stress enough the importance of this for a relationship. And the wonderful technology of an iPhone (or her dumb Droid) made all this possible. And for that I am truly grateful, Mr. Jobs.

A Blessing – Not the Best

Technology, however, can never replace face-to-face interaction.

I’m not a big fan of phone conversations. And actually, I’m not even that much of a texter. But I am a people-lover – most especially a Carissa-lover (I’m president of her fan club!). I like to be able to see the person I’m talking to.

And no matter how much it advances, technology can never replace that feeling.

Virtual hugs are just not the same. And even Skype can’t take the place of the joy I feel looking at her – in person.

So by all means, if you have to be long-distance, use technology to keep in contact. Relationships are built on communication, and media has made that easy. You have no excuse not to talk. It must be a priority – no matter how busy.

But don’t ever think that a text conversation can replace a coffee shop conversation. A phone call is not the same as taking a walk together.

You can survive long-distance – we did. And we are stronger for it! But we survived it by cherishing the time we spent face-to-face. And the time when that wasn’t possible, we cherished the phone conversations. Even when we didn’t feel like it. Even when we were tired and the day was long.

I picked up my iPhone and hit “Carijo” with the red heart each day not to replace seeing her in person. But to give me the little bit of Carissa I needed until that was possible.

Technology is a great supplement. But it makes a poor replacement.

-M@

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Long-Distance Relationships

I hate long-distance relationships.

Currently, my girlfriend lives about 3.5 hours away. But it might as well be a thousand miles with our busy schedules!

In my opinion, love is not meant to be stretched over a long distance. It can too easily be torn, tangled, or even broken. Or worse yet, forgotten about.

long_distance_relationship_ldr_faq1My girlfriend and I talk to each other on the phone pretty much every day. So that’s great. But I’m not a fan of talking on the phone, and texting is even more impersonal.

I’m a people-person and a visual learner. I want to see people, talk to them face-to-face (especially if they have a drop-dead gorgeous face like my girlfriend!). I hate being confined to a simple once-a-day chats where deep talks are cut short by busy schedules and romance is interrupted by 220 miles.

And yet, I’m totally fine with treating my relationship with God that way. In fact, I like to keep it long-distance. Sure, I talk to Him once a day, spouting off a list of demands. Okay, maybe I pray at meals, but am I really talking to God or impressing friends with piety? I’ll read His letter to me for a little bit and then go about my life as normal.

As if He never existed. As if He didn’t die for me. As if He wasn’t the greatest Being in the Universe. The Maker of the Universe. The God who knows me…and wants me to know Him.

And yet I want to hold this uncomfortable Deity at arms’ length.

Paul spent much of his life this way. Checking boxes in his relationship with God. Content that he was doing what God said–without actually knowing Him personally. Then his life was transformed. And all his piety became like a poopy diaper to him.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” -Phil. 3:8a

I love Paul’s passion. It’s convicting–but I hope it’s contagious as I meditate on this passage. Because I really want to know Jesus. Yeah, I feel pretty good just getting by in life with fifteen minutes of devos and prayer at the beginning of the day.

But I don’t want to settle for “pretty good.” I want to yell out with Paul in verse 1o: “that I may know Him!”

that-I-may-know-Him-300x225

It seems like a pretty lofty goal. But Paul clarifies in the next verse:

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”

“Not that I’m already perfect.” That phrase should be my life verse. But he doesn’t stop there. No, he’s gonna press on to make this knowledge of Christ, this deep relationship with God his passion, goal, drive…

To own it!

I want that. Because Christ has made me His own. How did He do that? Not by just calling me for a few minutes each day from Heaven! No, He came down to my planet and took my sins and paid for them on the Cross. To build a deep, deep relationship with a deep, deep sinner.

Christ wants more than just to be my date or have a “Facebook-official” status. He wants more than a quick call every evening. More than any relationship here on earth can offer. He wants to be my closest friend. To be my all.

And the amazing thing is: He wants this even though He knows me! He embraces me, dirty rags and all.

I think I want to get to know Someone like that.

-M@