“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – 1 Joshua 1:9
If you’d told me a year ago I’d be temporarily living in southern Italy and my partner would be permanently living in Holland I’d of laughed. He’d of laughed too. Firstly, we both love quality time, secondly we get the whole absence makes the heart grow fonder even when we were both living in the UK, if we’d had a busy couple of weeks and hadn’t been able to make time for each other.
So, the thought of us moving away from each other was really inconceivable to us at first. However, we trusted in God, our strength as a couple and also as individuals and went where we felt called to go. He was given a fantastic job opportunity in Holland that I’d have been selfish to make him stay for and I was finally beginning my travelling journey by living and working in Naples for 6 months. For us to have guilted the other into staying for our own gratification would have been wrong. Besides, we are not that couple. Although it has been hard and their have been so many trials a tribulations along the way.
In the 6 months we’ve been apart, we’ve had to talk our way through not leaving the countries we’d only just began to live in, build each other up when we felt like we were failing in our new roles, support each other though an anniversary and 2 further family bereavements and all that through whats app video call.
But what I have learnt on this journey of long distance love is this: GOD IS OUR ANCHOR. Without constantly praying for each other, or situations ourselves as individuals and as a couple and trusting in God to give us the strength we’d never of made it this far.
A long distance relationship for us has really helped us to grow. You should always be growing and there are 3 areas where we say we Should always be growing. INDIVIDUALLY. TOGETHER. SPIRITUALLY.
It’s important to always be growing. In life you cannot just stand still and expect all your dreams and aspirations to come to you. Every next experience in life helps you grow, whether that’s new jobs, new relationships, having children, travelling the world. Whatever your journey looks like, you sometimes need to do things alone. He could’ve asked me to join him in Holland, but he wouldn’t have. His not selfish in that way and I am blessed by God with a good man. There are many things God had asked me to do, that I have yet to complete and some of these I needed to be away from my partner for.
I needed ‘me time’ to reflect on what I needed to do for God and for myself. To live a selfish life for a while as I’d been so unconditionally selfless for so long. I’m finally doing that. There are so many things I wanted to achieve. Some I have, some are new, but God is giving me some amazing opportunities and I need to figure those out alone. To be in my significant others pockets whilst I do these thing would not have helped me on my individual journey.
He has grown so much in himself since being away from me and out of the UK too. I know none of the amazing things he has achieved he’d of done with me around him. He has so much more self belief in his abilities to achieve things. All to often he’d ask me to do things. Now his gotten more proactive in doing things on his own. His so much happier and more confident. He needed this time to find himself and he really has. It’s been beautiful to watch him growing in so many wonderful ways.
Growing in Togetherness
Obviously, for us to continue to grow as a couple we have to communicate. We knew being apart for any length of time was going to be hard and we unfortunately had a lot of added heartache thrown into the mix, which has made the process all the more harder. Despite not being big on technology, I am thankful for it in this situation. My partner isn’t much of a letter writer. He always tells me “you’re the writer in our family”.
So the fact we’ve had whats app video calls to be able to keep in constant contact has been helpful. I’m not going to sit here and write that the whole 6 months between us has been rosy because it hasn’t and I’m all about speaking truth into my readers lives. It’s been hard. I mention already the bereavements. There was that one unnecessary argument over something silly (usually the way), not so proud to admit it was my fault.
But we’ve powered through it all. This time apart has helped us to really understand each other as individuals and to make more effort when we could see each other to reveal in our unconditional love for each other. Yes unconditional. I love him without condition.
He upsets me, I get to him. sometimes I want to hit him over the head with a frying pan and I’m sure he’d tell you dunking me into an ice-cold lake would seem a good idea for him sometimes, ultimately we do and hopefully always will love each other. We are now 100% sure that we have “Found the ones whom our souls love.” Song of Solomon 3:4, so whatever the future holds our lives are well and truly intertwined.But had we of not experienced the long distance, I’m not so sure we’d of realised that, so I’m so grateful for our time apart.
He knew from our first date God is my FIRST and my family were my SECOND. As we grew in our relationship that slightly changed. God is my FIRST, but now He is my SECOND. He didn’t know Gd when we met and if you asked him today he’d probably a he doesn’t know if his a follower of Christ, but he sought out church on his own. For me, for him, for us.Reads and prays when it takes him and I’m just leaving it be. I trust in God. He will do what he needs to do in Him. Without my intervention.
And me? Well, this time in another country has really helped me to individualise, seek and find out who I am in Christ. I’ve really begun to lean on my own strength and abilities to achieve things and I seek God to help me to realise that whispering in my ears can become concrete dreams and aspirations as he told me so.
There are times I feel like I’m at sea and drowning. There’s this mammoth thing God is guiding me to do, that I’ve begun and not yet finished, but aim to do so next year. Sometimes I wonder how I can even achieve it. I’ve never tried before , but God is good he put it on my heart so “I can do all things through Christ“. I learning to truly believe.
Everyone who has experienced long distance love knows that its not sustainable long term. Eventually there needs to be some end goal right? Some end date needs to be establish.Some time when yo both sit down like the adults you are and figure out where you will be together. In the same country, in the same time zone. In the same household. I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I’m in Italy temporarily .My contract ends next week and I’ll get to spend a few days exploring with my partner. Holland for him is much more permanent. So, am I moving to Holland? The short answer: NO.
I am not yet done. I have big plans for next year but there will be an end goal. I want and feel I need one more year. To live, explore and adventure in the word on my own. Then after that, who knows? We will both be listening intently to God’s whisper in our ear to move forward. But for now we are both enjoying this adventure and these goals his set out for us. INDIVIDUALLY. TOGETHER. SPIRITUALLY.