So you want to get married, but you feel that your long distance relationship suddenly feels like you’re moving farther away from the notion of marriage rather than towards it.
Why does this happen?
Sometimes the physical distance between a couple can create intimacy walls, which only furthers that effect of distance.
In my last post, I talked about unique ways a long-distance couple can get to know each other and thrive in their relationship. However, a relationship can only progress so far through conversation alone. Physical affection is incredibly important, too, and a necessary part of marriage.
If you are in a long-distance relationship and discerning marriage, ask yourself: are you really ready to relocate? If the relationship is to end in marriage, relocation must happen for at least one person!
Here are some of the questions that my husband, Alex, and I considered before relocating and getting married:
What are you so afraid of? Alex helped me identify my own fears of commitment early in our dating relationship. I recognized that sometimes fear is disguised as prudence. No act would be considered courageous if there was nothing to be wagered. However, we are still responsible to respond to these situations in spite of feeling fear.
Alex also pointed out the obvious—that fear is NOT a virtue, and it does not come from God. Right away I recognized my fears as temptations to pull away from something holy and God-given.
Marriage involves dying to one’s own life as we know it in order to create new life with our spouse in union with God. Don’t be afraid of who God is calling you to become.
Through regular self-examination we challenge ourselves to overcome our own attachments and vices, which will prepare us for extraordinary situations like relocation, and eventually marriage.
Are you ready to give up your life for the sake of another? For most of us, the dying to self happens in many little ordinary ways, but they matter just as much as those heroic headliners. Because Jesus thought us all worthy to give of His own life, we should remember that through Him our life has then been made worthy to give to another.
Likewise, our spouse’s life has been made worthy to receive. Jesus conquered even death, so through Him we can certainly conquer relocation. Marriage involves dying of the single life, and relocating may be a part of that sacrifice, even after your vows. You may find yourselves relocating as a family for the sake of better employment or education. Military families are great examples of this self-denial and detachment of geographical location for the benefit of the greater good.
How attached are you to your own goals, plans, and ambitions? Have you made any room to compromise? My husband wanted to be a musician full-time, and I wanted to be a writer. He is now a web developer and graphic designer, and I have been a stay-at-home mom with marginal part-time employment in transcription. Instead of waiting for those earthly goals to materialize before getting married, we instead recognized each other’s talents, dreams, and goals, and then made little steps towards achieving them TOGETHER, under the graces of marriage.
We could have chosen to be resentful towards each other for postponing those dreams and ambitions (or, rather, redirecting them to start a family). Instead we made a conscious decision early in our relationship to choose God over our selves through practicing generosity, courage, patience, and trust, and we rejected the temptations to pride, vanity, and greediness. Since God gave us our gifts and talents, we trusted that He would find ways for us to use them for His glory.
We have always made an effort to be open to using those gifts and talents as God desires, even if the externals are different than what we originally imagined. Alex still sings regularly, but not full-time, and I’m plugging away at writing stories from home. We have also worked on writing songs together, combing both our talents. God’s ideas are always better than our own!
What is the worst thing that can happen from relocation? I tend to look at worst case scenarios, because it helps put these sacrifices into perspective. So you may have to change careers or income, and most likely leave behind friends and family if you relocate.
Those same things can happen right where you live now—people can move away, or your job can dissolve. We are not in control of anything in our lives except for our own choices and responses. The flip-side is reminding yourself what you have to gain by relocating.
If Skype and phone conversations suffice for a romantic relationship, then those same communications should suffice for family and friends until you can see each other again in person.
If you’re more attached to family and friends than to your significant other, then you have to ask yourself, is this person really the right match for me, or am I too just attached to the externals (including other relationships) in my life?