Finding a kind, good person who you want to spend your life with can be a challenge. Add in the challenge of wanting someone who is temple-worthy and shares your standards and beliefs and lives close enough to actually spend time with, and it can feel downright impossible. But with the invention of the internet, video chats, online dating, and dating apps, long-distance relationships are more common than ever before, which is good news for many Latter-day Saints who live in areas of the worldwide Church where members are few and far between.
Fortunately, we’ve been given a lot of good advice from our Church leaders on dating relationships, regardless of the distance. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that if we “want capability, safety, and security in dating and romance, in married life and eternity,” then we need to “be a true disciple of Jesus” (“How Do I Love Thee?” New Era, Oct. 2003, 8). Aside from that, here are seven tips on how to stay connected in a long-distance relationship:
Keep it consistent. Find a schedule that works for both of you. Many couples who went through the long-distance experience have said that talking every day on the phone or on a video chat made all the difference in their relationship. Maybe you don’t have time to talk every single day, but you should schedule time that is just for the other person.
Always give 100 percent. Long-distance relationships often don’t work out when one or both people aren’t fully committed to making it work. When you’re committed to showing and telling the other person that you truly care about them, even when you’re far apart, you can stay better connected to them.
Communication is key. When you are having your scheduled one-on-one time, focus on communicating openly. Feel free to share your feelings, whether they’re difficult and negative or warm and fuzzy. Expressing these things openly will strengthen your relationship, and you’ll be able to feel close despite the physical distance.
Be romantic! Since distance makes it difficult for the two of you to be physically affectionate, you have to find other ways to show you care. You can surprise them with little messages throughout the day. You could have food or flowers delivered to them. And a well-written, sincere letter sent through snail mail is always a win!
Create a spiritual connection. Try having a weekly home evening or devotional together. Watch a general conference talk together and discuss what you learned, or go over the Come, Follow Me lesson for that week. Strengthening your spiritual connection will strengthen your romantic connection as well!
Make time to meet in person. Seeing each other over a screen for an indefinite period of time won’t always be enough. As often as possible, try to make plans to meet in person. Don’t spend all your money to see each other constantly, but try to visit each other at least once every couple of months if the separation is a long-term thing.
Always be honest. The most important part of communication is honesty. Let the other person know how you’re feeling and what your expectations for your relationship are. You both need to be on the same page for your relationship to work, and the only way that will happen is if you both choose to be honest with each other. When you do that, your relationship can flourish and turn into something that will bless you forever.
More than anything, remember that dating relationships—whether near or far—should be based on friendship. As Sister Susan W. Tanner, former Young Women General President, said, “Friendship is the foundation upon which courtship and marriage should be built and can thrive” (“Making Dating Smooth Sailing,” New Era, Oct. 2004, 28).