Far away, close at heart

By  Christine Thibeault, Youth Speak News
  • November 9, 2007
For almost a year officially now, I’ve been in a long-distance relationship and I thank God everyday for this blessing.

My boyfriend and I literally have distance between us. He is from and lives in England, and I in Dartmouth, N.S. We met in 2005 in Germany at World Youth Day for about 30 minutes, exchanged emails and went our separate ways. In short, we chatted for a year, he came to visit, we hit it off great and the rest is history.

I suppose we had it “easy” from the beginning. We started the relationship with the distance, thus knew what we were getting ourselves into. It wasn’t as hard as I imagined until I visited him this summer and actually got to spend time with him as a couple. Saying goodbye is never easy, mainly because you don’t know when you’ll see each other next, but also because it’s just the beginning of the ultimate test: Can we really do this? We think so.

Faith is the main answer for what keeps us grounded. He and I are both devout Catholics and know that it’s very important to keep prayer at the centre of our relationship, because without God it just wouldn’t work. It was God that led us to each other and it is God that guides us through this everyday.

As well, communication is everything. We try to contact each other in some form (texts, Facebook, etc.) at least once a day, and set up e-dates to chat online. This is one of the hardest parts of our relationship because finding time isn’t always easy, especially with a four-hour time difference. Again, I knew this when we started dating, but it gets more difficult when both of us suddenly become busy for extended periods of time.

The other hardest part of our relationship is knowing you can’t physically be there for the other when they are in need. It kills me inside that I can’t comfort him when he is stressed, and likewise, I sometimes feel lonely when I can’t be hugged from the only person I want comfort from. However, as much as my heart aches on some days, it’s a constant reminder of how much you care for and love the other. Missing the person is a good thing. It makes you work harder to keep the relationship going.

Long-distance relationships are great for discernment and figuring out God’s will for the couple. In being apart, you’re still growing together through prayer. You can also stay focused on your everyday life because there is no physical distraction. My boyfriend and I have both agreed that if we went to the same university, or lived close to the other, we’d want to see each other all the time, which would only interfere with our studies. Obviously our relationship is a top priority, but so is our education. The distance has also helped us to build a great friendship and emotional connection, where some couples rely on the physical aspects only.

Many people say they couldn’t handle a long-distance relationship, but I know that God never gives us more than we can handle. The Lord takes care of us, and helps us through everything. Besides, if it is His will, not even an ocean can stop Him.

(Thibeault, 19, is a philosophy student at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.)

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