Let’s just begin with the main point. The main point of this blog is to encourage you; I want you to know that you are not a burden to your cross-cultural or long distance love. I remember questioning myself throughout my long distance/ cross culture courtship with Evans:
Was I worth causing him so much heartache?
Why does this have to be so difficult?
Maybe we should just end everything.
If you are feeling discouraged or questioning yourself, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on why you entered the relationship with the other person. It helped me to write things down, and reflect after writing. Answer a few questions for yourself:
1.) What do you love about your partner?
2.) What makes them unlike any other person you’ve ever met?
3.) Do you hope to “settle down” with this person? Have you made plans to move towards settling down together?
4.) Is your partner your best friend?
5.) Have you shared your feelings with your partner? How did they respond?
Once you’ve reflected on these questions and determined that the person you are with is worth waiting for, then that makes waiting a bit easier.
Having plans in place for when and where you will settle together is also an important step because then you know how long you have to wait until you can be with that person.
Sometimes we can be completely oblivious to the fact that our partner is choosing to be in a relationship with us. You are not forcing the other person to be in a relationship with you (and if you are that’s a more serious issue). Your partner is there because they love you. We often forget this very important and obvious fact. If you are feeling down hearted talk with your partner and be open and honest about your feelings. Maybe you or your partner need to change communication patterns (talking more often, opening up, discussing the future, etc.), or maybe you may have to visit more often (if possible).
One thing that can also help with long distance dating is getting busy where you are. Join a gym, a social club, a church, an organization to volunteer. Get busy despite being a part from each other. Staying active will help you take your focus off of being a “burden” (which we already established is not true), and place it on other things. Even when you are together you will still need to have your own separate “spheres.” Meaning that: you still need time a part to do what you enjoy separately.
For cross-cultural couples who are not in (or from) the same country…my heart goes out to you. I understand the unique set of challenges that goes with that predicament. Honestly, I could write an entire blog (or book) about that, but for now my advice is to plan ahead. Even if you are not thinking of marriage yet…remember that immigration documents, visas, and other legal processes take time.
Give yourself at least a year to sort these legal processes out. For example, if you want to get married in 2020, get a lawyer, and start your process in 2019, at least a year early (especially if one partner is in another country). That means you should look for an immigration attorney at the beginning of 2019 as well. It can be challenging, costly, and an emotional process, but you will get through it!
Praying that this encourages you all! If my hubby and I made it through a three and a half year courtship that was long distance (from different continents), I know that with prayer and the leading of God you can make it through as well!
Love you much!