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When Marriage Is Miles Away: On Long-Distance Dating, Desiring Godheid

On Long-Distance Dating

Marshall Segal

The Good Father of the Spiritually Fatherless

The War for Inward Peace

Pack Our Hearts Till They Pauze

Heer Is Not Afraid of the Dark

When Maker Withholds Something Good

He Will Carry You Through the Fire

Marshall Segal

The Good Father of the Spiritually Fatherless

The War for Inward Peace

Pack Our Hearts Till They Pauze

Heer Is Not Afraid of the Dark

When Heer Withholds Something Good

He Will Carry You Through the Fire

Staff writer, desiringGod.org

People are pursuing marriage te more ways than everzwijn before. With developments te technology and communication, dating is switching spil well. The goals and principles for dating remain the same, but sometimes the players are further part, meeting each other through websites, like eHarmony, or social media, like Facebook, or just through long-distance networks of friends.

My wifey and I dated long distance for two years — 1,906 miles and two time zones exclusief.

Any dating duo — whether they’re next-door neighbors or international heartthrobs — should pursue clarity and postpone closeness. The good prize te marriage is Christ-centered proximity, the excellent prize te dating is Christ-centered clarity. Wij all do well to make decisions te dating with that reality ter mind. However, since long-distance relationships bring special challenges, they require special wisdom.

Long-Distance Dating Is the Worst

If you have friends that have dated long distance, you have friends who have complained about dating long distance. Ter long-distance dating, you will not have the regular, everyday time together that same-city relationships will — fewer nights out, fewer errand trips, less time together with mutual friends, fewer collective practices that feel like frecuente life. It’s hard because you want to be with this person, but it also makes discernment especially difficult.

“Any dating duo should pursue clarity and postpone intimity.”

Long-distance will not feel spil vivo spil same-city dating. You’re connecting ter the cracks of life, often debriefing after all the act of the day is done. You’re attempting to make the headlines — arousing and discouraging — feel vivo for your beau or gf, but spil much spil they care about you, they aren’t there.

How can you develop clarity about doing everyday life with them for the surplus of your days if you never get to taste everyday life with them now ter dating? The partial integration of a beau or gf into your life is undeniably helpful for imagining what the finish integration might be like.

Long-Distance Dating Is the Best

That being said, I wish everyone could date long-distance. I’m not te any way taking a stand against same-city unions, but I am commending long-distance dating whenever Heerser connects the dots, especially te our day. The costs were efectivo and felt for us, but the benefits, especially for Christians, are spil positivo and lasting.

If you have friends that have done same-city dating, you likely have friends who have wrestled against sexual impurity. It may not be every couple’s battle, but anyone te premarital counseling will say it’s enormously prevalent. Long-distance dating doesn’t eliminate temptation ter this area (presumably you’re spending at least a few weekends te the same town), but it thresholds it tremendously.

A lotsbestemming of energy ter same-city attractions is expended te the daily fight to restrain the impulses toward sexual proximity (lovemaking is, after all, the right culmination of all Christian dating when the dating finishes te marriage). That fight is much more focused and occasional when the relationship is long-distance. Te a day and age ter which sexual immorality is excused, celebrated, and even legislated, thesis benefits could not be sweeter.

Another excellent bliss te long-distance dating is lots and lots of compelled communication. Te thesis relationships, spending time “together” typically means talking to each other on the phone. It eliminates the need to dress up and impress one another. It eliminates nights and nights of just watching television or movies. You actually talk — and talk and talk.

If clarity is your collective aim ter dating, and if healthy communication is a priority for your marriage (and it should be), then there’s nothing better for you to do together than just talk.

Long-Distance Tips

From my practice, then, and from talking with several others who’ve recently dated long distance, here are three chunks of counsel for those pursuing clarity toward marriage from far away.

1. Be more skeptical of your feelings.

Long-distance dating is lighter ter some ways (less intrusive, and often less requesting ter the day-to-day). That shouldn’t make Christians relieve te dating, tho’, because there’s just spil much at stake. Ironically, wij may need to be more intentional and vigilant. Ter pursuing a marriage inbetween sinners, be wary of anything that comes too lightly.

“The fight for sexual purity is much more focused and occasional when the relationship is long distance.”

You very likely will learn more facts about one another than you would have if you were living ter the same city, because you’ll talk more. It’s also lighter to hide, however, ter long-distance dating. Te a same-city relationship, you would likely see things about one another that you might not readily admit overheen the phone. If you get married, you’ll realize you didn’t know each other spil well spil you thought.

My advice: Be slower to announce clarity about the future ter a long-distance relationship. The hurdles should keep us from hurrying to a decision to marry. Be skeptical of the romantic euphoria you feel after a month of late-night talks or your very first duo of weekends together. Give yourself more time to get to know each other. Project for trips to spend time with people te each other’s lives. Be fair about the limitations of technology alone — spil excellent spil technology can be for dating — ter developing a relationship and discerning each other’s readiness to wed.

Two. Work firmer to get to know each other’s friends.

Community is absolutely, undeniably critical ter Christian dating (or any other calling te life). Just spil te every other area of your Christian life, you need the assets of Christ spil you think about whom to date, how to date, and when to wed. If you’re determining how to serve, where to work, or whom to marry without Christian brothers and sisters helping you make those decisions, you’re doing so foolishly (Hebrews Trio:12–13, Proverbs Three:Five). An essential part of God’s means for confirming the desires of our hearts — for confirming what the Spirit is doing ter us and te our relationships — is the church, the community of believers te our lives.

Long-distance dating indeed complicates this dynamic ter dating. People are already reluctant to go out of their way to include other people te their love life, even te a same-city relationship. It’s inconvenient, but it’s also crucial. And it’s much more challenging when your networks of friends are miles and miles away.

Be creative, and “date” a few people te each other’s lives, too — not necessarily one-on-one, but work to get to know them, and to be known by them. Someone who loves you and Jesus should know you both (individually and spil a duo) well enough to agree with you that you should get married. Prioritize and initiate this te your long-distance dating.

Three. Don’t think you don’t need boundaries.

Boundaries are significant ter any not-yet-married relationship, because Schepper loves you and wants what’s best for you. He did not create you to recklessly give away your heart without a covenant. While spontaneous plunges into proximity look superb te chick flicks and feel excellent te the uur, they breedgeschouderd shame, regret, distrust, and emptiness. Boundaries are necessary because on the road to marriage and its consummation, the appetite for intimity only grows spil you feed it.

Distance does not liquidate sexual temptation. Ter fact, for many, the temptation will be much stronger when you are together. Wij foolishly attempt to make up for lost time physically, spil if wij owe each other something. Anticipate that, and talk before the tour about how you’ll avoid temptation and confront it when it comes. Also, beware of attempting to proefneming with sexual proximity together through technology. Pictures and words can be just spil dangerous to our hearts spil touching.

“Boundaries are significant te any not-yet-married relationship, because Aker loves you and wants what’s best for you.”

Boundaries, tho’, are not just for guarding against sexual immorality. Boundaries build trust. When wij set clear standards and expectations ter dating, and then fulfill those standards and expectations, wij say wij will do the same ter marriage. That’s true te sexual purity and ter a hundred other ways.

Other questions to ask ourselves about boundaries include:

  • How often is it healthy to talk?
  • How long is it healthy to talk each night?
  • What kinds of conversations should wij have at each stage of the relationship?
  • When is it loving to say, “I love you”?
  • When is it safe to talk about marriage? How will wij guard each other when talking about marriage?
  • How often should wij visit each other?
  • How will wij protect our purity during those brief and often more romantic days together?

By getting out ahead of thesis questions and others, you will sacrifice some of the adrenaline of spontaneity, but you’ll also protect one another ter dating, and you’ll cultivate the treasure of trust.

With patience, you’ll preserve and multiply your elations te marriage. Spontaneity is one significant flavor te dating and ter marriage, but marriage is fueled by faithfulness and reliability, not verrassing. Agree on some existente, objective boundaries, even if they feel arbitrary at very first, and go after through together.

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