Managing a Christ-Centered Long-Distance Relationship

The question:

“I would love to read a piece on managing a Christ-Centered, Long-Distance Relationship. I wouldn’t mind which angle you tackle it from. I remember from one of your posts about introducing your partner to your parents, you mentioned that your partner came to visit, and he stayed with you. Somewhere in your message on this issue, I am looking for counsel in situations where in order for time to be spent together, visitations may be necessary. However, there are a lot of things that could go wrong in that instance especially being in such close proximity when abstinence is being practiced amongst other things.”

So I have to clear up one thing. I’m not sure if I led you all to believe that my current spouse had stayed with me when he had come to visit, but let me explain that he actually did not stay in my house. If he had, he would’ve met my mother on the first day instead of the last. He actually found a hotel and was transported to and from each daily activity.

“But what if there is an instance of not being able to afford a hotel, or no friend for your partner to stay with?”

Managing a Christ-Centered Long-Distance Relationship is an especially difficult one. First off, it’s a Christian relationship, and secondly, it’s a long-distance one as well. With a long-distance relationship, you don’t really see your mate often and you often have to schedule times where you guys can get to meet up with each other. Depending on the distance, this may be easy or actually very hard to do. In my relationship, my mate was living in New York, and so it wasn’t very far, but it was still difficult because as I mentioned in a previous post, my parents weren’t the type to acknowledge relationships, and on top of that, they weren’t just going to let me travel to another state especially to see some guy that they hardly knew.

Now, with a Long-Distance Relationship, when you finally get to see each other, your emotions are very high, not to mention your hormones. Your body is like, “He’s finally here, I can’t let this moment pass without getting something”, but that’s where you really need to subdue your mind to God’s direction. I always say that you should engage in activities that are out in public if possible. Stay away from being alone in a room because you may not have any self-control at all. And there may be a time or two where you actually can’t hold out, but it’s important to regroup and tell yourself that you will not put yourself in that type of situation again.

One of the major ways to try to avoid messing around would be to always think about the fact that you’ll be having Holy Communion at the beginning of the month. I’m not really sure of the procedures at other churches, but I think a lot of us that go to The Church of Pentecost can relate when the Elder or Pastor says, ” If you know you have a boyfriend/girlfriend and you are living in sin, we suggest that you do not come forward for communion.” That sentence will always stand out to you especially if you know you are engaging in some business you shouldn’t be in. In the bible, it tells us that if you knowingly take communion while partaking in sin, you are eating and drinking into damnation(1 Corinthians 11:29). Maybe focusing on communion in those hard times may help you out. I’m sure some of you have noticed that when you miss communion, the Elders as well as other people tend to keep note of who comes up for communion and who doesn’t and you shouldn’t want to put yourself in a situation where they would be making assumptions about your life and in turn make you the talk of town. That is not to say that you’ll never mess up, because you will, but it only becomes a problem when you don’t feel remorse for going against God. In that moment before taking communion, you can always pray to God and ask Him to direct your path as you go forward and to help you stay away from making that mistake again.

So, with my husband, the first time he came to visit me, he stayed in a motel. Nothing fancy, just something cheap that wouldn’t break the bank. Afterwards, because my mom knew about him, I asked my sister if it was okay for him to stay at her and her husband’s place when he would come to visit, just because I knew my mother’s mind would be at ease knowing that we were under some type of “supervision”. This wasn’t so much of a problem because my sister and brother-in-law were respectful and gave us our space. They were never breathing down our necks about it. We would most times be out of the house anyway, and so that helped out a lot and reduced temptation.

With a long-distance relationship, something that you can do is take a day trip, depending on the distance once again. If he wants to drive to your state and just hang out with you for the day, he can do that, but that’s if you can’t find a friend that is willing to host him. You can also try to do the same if your parents allow you. I’ve noticed that parents are more lenient with their sons than they are with their daughters, and so you may find your mate visiting you a lot more often that you will be visiting him. You guys can also pick a state that is halfway between the both of you and spend the day engaging in some activities over there. There are so many ways to make it work, just be creative. While I was dating, Skype was my best friend, and when possible, my husband would make some trips to Worcester to hang out.

This is also where accountability partners come in as well. If you have a friend that is helping you stay on course with abstinence/celibacy, always keep them in the loop with where you are going and what you are doing, and be HONEST. If you are going to have an accountability partner, actually use them to your advantage, and make sure that you also listen to them, after all, they didn’t ask to be your partner-you asked them. If they tell you to get yourself out of a situation, have enough self-control to listen to them and know that they are advising you based on what is in your best interest.

At the end of the day, if all else fails, have a talk with your parents and let them know what the problem is. Help them understand what you are trying to accomplish. I’m sure your parents want to see you get married so that they can show you off to their friends, and so remind them that in order for them to get to that stage, they have to cross this river first. If they are more comfortable with you going out to a different state with your friend, just be okay with that and use that as an opportunity. The trip is about you and your mate either way, and I’m sure your friend wouldn’t want to get in the way of your personal time together.

God loves you.

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