It’s when we start working together that the real healing takes place… it’s when we start spilling our sweat, and not our blood.–David Hume.
Relationships require work, and anyone who says anything differently is trying to cause your relationships to fail. One cannot simply lay back, once you’ve started dating someone, and expect God to hold it all together. (Same within marriage, really). Juas as being a Gentleman requires constant work, so to does any given relationship, whether friendship or romance. (though, in this entry, the focus is romantic) Both sides need to work together, if not in harmony, than at least in some direction towards unity.
So, how would this work? Let us suppose that I met a lovely woman in Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix is about 70 miles down the mountain from here, so this would qualify as long distance. How would I make this relationship work? First of all, I’d go down and visit during my weekend period, every time it was possible, or possibly alternate–one weekend, she comes up here, and vice versa. This is how dates would be accomplished. We would work to see one another. Now granted, I know 70 miles isn’t terribly much, but with vaster distance scales, regular visits aren’t impossible; they just need to be more widely spaced. The alternate visitation schedule means that the impact on any single wallet is reduced. Perhaps, if your loved one is a few thousand miles away, instead of a few tens, this could be done with four visits a year. (This was how I was planning it for my last long distance relationship, with someone I met while I was in Boston.)
Furthermore, I’d also skype regularly, or phone regularly. Skype has done wonders for the Long-distance relationship. It means you get to “see” your companion on a regular basis, watch facial features, and again, follow social cues. This is a HUGE improvement over instant messaging and email and basic text messaging, because I have seen how a simple mis-worded text can bring a relationship tumbling down because the meaning of a text was misconstrued.
By the way, my recommendation is that whenever you see an email or text from your significant other, and you’re not sure what it means, or if it sounds bad, don’t immediately fly off the deep end. Text back with “I’m sorry, what? I think I misunderstood.” Also, don’t have arguments over text, either. Such things should be discussed in person, as calmly as possible. (Or on Skype, obviously.)
That being said, people love hearing why they’re important to you. You should tell them regularly. Make your companion feel loved—because you do love them, right? Let them know. Text them good morning. That sort of thing. Because really, it’s the little things, like friendly words, that let the other person know you care. People like to know they are being thought about. They like to think they matter—and if someone matters to you, you should darn well make sure they know how much of a role they are in their lives.
Lastly, if you’re in a long-distance relationship, make plans for the eventual ENDING of the distance part. Work together towards a point where you two would be in the same place. Eventually you two are going to be together in the same place…right?
For a closer-quarters relationship, regular date-nights, I think are a key for helping things work. Spend time together when you can, and follow much of the above.
The point is, you need to talk together to make things work; this goes for both sides. Relationships require work to function properly, and something I have noticed about all couples that have been together for extremely long terms is that they’re willing to work together, for each other. Sacrifices are sometimes made, but compromises are made even more often. And if you’re not working on your relationship, and lying back and letting God pilot instead, you’re in danger of a severe wreck.