We’re finding more and more that the Lord stretches us most where we are the weakest and also that He has a gr8 sense of humor (she types with sarcasm). It’s just like working out—stretching the muscles that are less flexible creates the most tension.
And if you don’t know me, let me tell you why I say that. Being away from the people that I love the most is not my jam. SO the fact that I am in a long distance relationship is H I L A R I O U S.
Harrison and I met 2 years ago in college at a tattoo parlor in the great state of Starkville, Mississippi + we have been simultaneously together and apart ever since. The next month he transferred to play ball at the University of Tampa, thus sparking the distance we have come to know and love and hate.
5,000 miles or 5 minutes apart, relationships are hard and they are good and they are emotionally stirring. Throw in a little girl who’s separation anxiety muscle needs emotional Tommy John, a generous dash of laugh-until-you-pee, a few (hundred) minor mental breakdowns, 4 heaping tablespoons of the most fun you’ve ever had in your life, a professional baseball schedule and a couple gallons of grace you have the secret recipe to something we like to call: our life.
So anyway, what we’re really here for: how to survive it, or at least how we are anyway.
1. For every goodbye make sure there’s a see you later.
Figuring this out seems like it would be a no brainer, but it was UGE for me. It’s easy to come and go and just expect that you’ll see each other soon, but soon wasn’t cuttin’ it. There’s something so exciting and an easiness about watching the numbers on a countdown clock get smaller and smaller.
2. Choose carefully the outside voices you listen to.
You’ll figure out that there are two types of people: there are nosy people and there are people who are there for it all. There will always be someone who disagrees with what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. There will be doubters, there will be hAtErS, there will be people who just straight up don’t understand, but guess what? It’s not their’s to understand. For us, we are very careful about the people on the outside of our relationship who we allow to speak into it. That doesn’t mean what they say is always something fuzzy we want to hear, but we know without a shadow of doubt they are for us and really love us a bunch.
Pro Tip: Learn to let empty-headed comments roll off your back. I have heard some DOOZIES in 2 years of dating a professional athlete. You have to learn to laugh or you will lose your mind. There is absolutely no sense in letting your joy be stolen by untruths or unnecessary comments. okkurrrt.
3. Go the extra mile…literally.
Jump in the car, book the flight. One day we’ll be 782 years old and YOLO will be but a distant memory. I made a promise to myself that the things I regret not doing will be few and I will never miss an opportunity to squeeze my boy even if that means 11 hours on a Friday just to turn around on Sunday. Some of the sweetest, most important memories are the ones you weren’t expecting.
4. Take advantage of technology.
From my supa handsome, supa hunky SUPA special guest #30 on the filed, #1 in your heart, Harrison Bragg, “send videos of your workouts, your golf swing, share your calendars and notes. Sync up your movies and TV shows so it’s like you’re watching it in the same room. Technology is a big time asset for us, and I couldn’t be more grateful.” Just because you’re not physically together doesn’t mean you have to miss a thing.
Date night favorite: plan to get the same thing for dinner (I.e. Mexican, pizza, burgers, etc.) and watch a movie on FaceTime! We totally recommend finding a pastor or church that you both connect with and stream a sermon 🙂 Something we lovingly refer to as Furtick Dates (@MyBoySteve).
5. Keeping score.
Don’t do it. Just because you cleaned his entire apartment while he was at the field, you can’t get an attitude when he doesn’t, I don’t know, help with dinner later or whatever it is you expected in return, and the same goes for him. Even though, i must say we have a pretty solid “i cook, you clean” thing going on and i dig it. #blessed. Here’s the scoop: your love language is not his love language. you’re both growing and in order for growth there has to be grace. A lot of days you’ll both be able to give 100% and you’ll go to bed starry-eyed and floating. Some days you’ll give your 100% and he might only have 30% in the tank. Other days he’ll be picking up your slack. As long as you’re loving each other the best you know how, it’s the beauty of finding rhythm.
6. Don’t let mole hills become mountains.
I have this really aWeSoMe personality trait where in attempt to board up the windows and take shelter from the tsunami that is my emotions, I try and act like I don’t care as much as I actually do to save some face. It’s totally a coping mechanism to keep the chronically getting my hopes too high at bay. On the other hand I try to be way too cool and seem unbothered even when nothing is cool, everything is on fire and the tiny Lizzie McGuire inside has smoke billowing out of her nostrils. If you’re excited, BE EXCITED. If you’re bummed, don’t not talk about it for fear of sounding whiny. If you’re sad, feel it, say it. If you’re frustrated, grit those teeth and talk about it. Don’t allow paper cuts to fester into nasty, gaping wounds. Don’t make room for the small things to grow and take over the house. I can’t say it loud enough, there is SO much freedom in healthy, open communication and it will be the key that unlocks so much sweet stuff in your relationship!
7. SNAIL MAIL!!!
Hehehe dis my fave. besides asking Jesus to come and fill the holes when you’re missing your man, nothing fills my heart with joy quite like putting a care package together for my boy and imagining how stinkin’ cute his face will be when he’s opening it. Plus, counting down the days until he receives said package creates a tiny countdown clock inside of the big countdown clock and makes the time feel like it’s going by a little faster.
8. The little things are the big things
When you only get to see each other once, maybe twice a month, every little thing feels so monumental. Every good morning, every goodnight, every i miss you, every FaceTime out of the blue just because he couldn’t go another second without seeing your face, helping each other grocery shop over the phone. Things that non-distance couples may not even think twice about, these are the things that keep the house from blowing over when the wind comes. We make sure to be really aware of what each other needs to make the miles feel not so far in between 🙂
9. It isn’t forever
Remember, it won’t always be this way. A day will come when we miss the uncertainty and feel nostalgic for the butterflies in our tummy when we see each other for the first time in weeks. Distance adds a certain and unmistakable texture to a relationship, it forces you to dig your heels in deep if you want it bad enough and fall in love with another person’s heart before anything else. Take in all in, even if your breath shakes, even if it burns a little going down. Count it all joy.
10. What’s your house built on?
“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:25
I purposefully saved this one for last as if all of the other things rested on it. It is a special thing to fall more in love with each other as you’re both falling more in love with Jesus. I love to go back and read the pages He’s already written, to see how far we’ve come; to follow the trail that redemption has left leading up to this very moment. Chapters filled to the brim, overflowing with good news and redemption. We could should shout it from the rooftop, we are grateful and He is GOOD.