Today I left the airport for the third time, with tears rolling down my cheeks. I pulled over into a vacant parking lot in the vicinity of the airport and I just sat, took it all in, cried some more, and then realized what and who these tears were for; and I smiled. These tears were from love and they were for my best friend. If you're in a long-distance relationship, you know the above scenario to a T. You know the sacrifice and tears and tough moments just like I do. But we always find a way to make it work. And here's how.
What we have in a long distance kinda love isn't the kind of love you see in Hollywood films.
It's the exact opposite, and because of that, it works and it lasts. Long distance love challenges you to love as love is intended to be. It demands sacrifice, it calls upon humility, grace, and understanding. It requires patience, consistency, and effort. You grow in gratitude for all of the little things many couples may otherwise not notice; like the sound of his voice over the phone after a long day. You stop playing around and wasting your time on seasonal relationships and instead, delve into a commitment with someone whom you see and desire a future with.
When you do get to physically be with each other you don't take a second for granted and you make important things, like time with family and one on one moments, a priority. You make sure to spend time with the people that pour INTO your love and your relationship and you don't waste time on anything that may hinder it because long-distance love is fought for and worth protecting. You find happiness in all of the little seemingly "regular" daily things, like standing in line for coffee together with his arm around you. And you soak it all up, playing it over and over in your head again because you'll want to remember it when the months apart get tough.
When you can't physically be there with them, you have to let them know when you think of them. Maybe it's a text, a surprise letter in the mailbox, or a song you just heard that reminded you of them. You have to communicate constantly, but more consciously than ever. Because all you have is communication, you can't read body language or look into their eyes, so you have to learn how to be open, honest, and vulnerable in every conversation you have so there is no room for miscommunication or misleading words or emotion. You have to apologize when you hurt and forgive when you're wronged (this is where the humility and grace come into play).
When you're not together, you don't experience everything with each other, you don't know everything that's been happening or going on in each other's days, so there will be times when you unintentionally say or do something uncalled for.
You just have to remember, there is a distance and it's in more than just the miles - you just have to figure out how to work around it.
Long distance love takes work and it takes time. It's almost effortless to hang out with someone and make them feel loved when you're in the same room as each other, but when it's stretched across miles, consistency in affection, approval, encouragement, and communication are vital in reminding each other how important the other is. Ultimately, in a long distance kinda love, if you aren't spending time learning about the man who embodies humility, grace, patience, and love, then how will you know how to most perfectly and effectively express and practice them? Long distance love challenges you to a love Hollywood doesn't preach; authentic love. But that's what makes long-distance love work. That's what makes it last.