Let’s start this one out by being brutally honest. Long distance is hard. When my husband and I first started dating, our relationship started out long distance. I was constantly questioning how we could make dating work while being so far apart so often. Distance taught us a lot about each other and our relationship, and somehow God used even that to prepare us for marriage. Since being married, the distance has thankfully become less, but it’s still there. We still have to go days, weeks, and sometimes months without being together. We still struggle with it. I don’t know that I will ever not struggle with it. I do know we have found ways to make it work with a lot of help from God and His Word.
Where there’s distance, there’s room for the enemy to sneak his way in. What we fill that distance with matters. The enemy wants us to fill the space between us and our husband with doubt, fear, anxiety, and impatience. The enemy wants to tempt us and our husbands. This will surely lead to destruction, and I’ve experienced it first hand. Allowing space for the enemy in any way takes away the space we have for God to help us in our battle of a long distance relationship.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27.
When we fill that space with God, His Word, and His love, we leave absolutely no room for the enemy to get through. Peace from God in my marriage is something I pray for on a regular basis. The kind that does not let my heart be troubled and alleviates all fears. The kind that says “do not be afraid“. What better way to combat doubt with faith, fear with hope, anxiety with peace, impatience with patience, and temptation with knowing Gods Word and standing on it. Now, the question is, how do we do that?
When my husband and I were really struggling to figure out long distance during our dating years, I turned to a trusted friend and mentor. I poured out my heart to her through tears, telling her all of the ways long distance was “destroying my relationship”. While she listened and loved me, she also reminded me that I was allowing it to. This harsh, but true, wake up call was what I needed. I was focusing on what the enemy wanted me to focus on, and not what God had for me. We prayed together and asked God to show me how to allow God to do His work and not stand in the way.
I prayed often on how God can use long distance in our relationship and as I studied His Word, I found that all of the ways He commands us to love one another do not require us to be physically together. We can love from a distance! “Love is patient”. In a long distance relationship, it’s easy to hang up the phone when the conversation isn’t going your way, or you’re tired and don’t want to talk you can just not answer. Patience tells us that we don’t hang up the phone out of frustration or anger and we don’t ignore the call out of selfish needs. “Love is kind”. Kindness is a gesture of love. We don’t have to be in the same room to be kind. A simple text or call asking how their day is going can make your husband feel good. “It is not rude… it is not easily angered”. Long distance takes a lot more practice in communication skills. When texting, things can be taken out of context and create arguments out of thin air. Missing someone and feeling emotional about being apart can also cause anger or rudeness. We take our our feelings of not liking the distance on each other. But God’s Word tells us that’s not love. Love is praying about those negative feelings and learning to communicate them well. Telling our husband “I don’t like being away from you, but I love you and we will make this work” sounds very different than “I don’t like being away from you and I hate your job because of it”. Learning that our words matter is one of the most important lessons long distance can teach us.
“He said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.'” Luke 22:40.
Temptation. I know, not the word we want to even think about, much less talk about, but it’s there. I bet you think I’m going to tell you how to combat your husbands temptations when you are apart, but all I can say to you there is pray. But what about our own temptation? Isn’t it Eve that started this game? Isn’t she the one who let temptation hurt her and Adam? Yes ladies, we get tempted too. Missing our husbands and long distance can amplify temptation if we let it. We must not let it. What I have found is that the more I put into my marriage and the more I pray for my husband and our life together, the more value I see in him and us. God created us all with unique and different gifts. (1 Peter 4:10-11). Because of that, no one else will ever be the man my husband is, so why let the enemy even try? Temptation doesn’t stand a chance against the cord of three strands we can create by placing God at the center of us. That center in long distance might be long and wide, but God can still fill it.
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12.
How do we put God at the center of that giant gap, you ask? Well, there are a lot of ways! First, praying together. Praying for one another and with one another is the easiest way to make sure God is placed where the enemy won’t be able to reach. Finding a bible study or daily devotional to do together is also a great way of connecting and keeping God at the center during your long distance. My husband and I have found several on resources like Right Now Media and The Bible App. Spending our own individual time in Gods Word is just as important as the time we spend in it together. Allowing the long distance to create personal time and space for alone time with God will not only grow you, but your marriage will benefit as well.
Through the intentional ways we have learned to connect during times apart, my husband and I have learned to love each other even better. It did not come without hardship or some trial and error, but eventually we did allow God to grow us through the distance. Now, instead of saying how much “I hate long distance”, I actually have found myself thanking God for it. I thank God for teaching us to communicate better and show love in more meaningful ways. Knowing my words hold weight, I have learned to use them more wisely. I thank God for helping us learn to fight against temptation early on in our relationship and marriage, so when the enemy comes knocking we can slam the door. I thank God for the time apart that has revealed to me even more that I need to cherish quality time I do have with my husband. In so many ways, our marriage is stronger from it, and I know that is only because we allowed God to help us.
I hope there is someone reading this who is where I was several years ago. Someone who is missing their man and wondering “how can we make this work?”. I was that girl. In a lot ways, I’m still that girl, missing my husband and praying for God to work in the space between us. But this is where my peace comes from:
God is able to move mountains and part seas, He can surely cross the distance in your relationship and bring you together in ways you never imagined. Long distance is hard, but God can still make it beautiful.