Long distance relationships. I’m not a fan. My brother and sister-in-law have been rocking the military life for almost a decade, and I look at Megan and Jacob’s perseverance with admiration and respect. It’s kind of like washing dishes by hand, I can do it…I just don’t like it. Patrick and I decided to date while we lived 10 hours apart. We had known each other for years before dating, and long-distance was definitely not ideal.

Get married or break up. Investing in the emotional roller coaster of long-distance is a relationship reliant on time and communication. Long distance is a marathon, not a sprint, and I knew that we would need to make the choice to persevere if we wanted to make it work.

We got lonely. Long-distance is lonely. I was living in a new town knowing few people. So was Patrick. He chose Raleigh. I chose Indiana. I can count on one hand the number of times we missed a Skype date night, but it still doesn’t beat seeing one another face to face.

We missed the mundane. Grocery store trips. Cooking. Running errands. Evening walks. Checking the mail. We love doing everything together. To be unable to take a walk hand-in-hand was something we never took for granted and deeply missed.

Now to the endurance part. Here’s how we made it through.

We had a goal in mind. We knew distance wasn’t going to be permanent, and wanted to find a way to be in the same place together. We identified that it would be best for me to move from Indiana to North Carolina for work and that we would decide from there where our next steps would be.

We stayed connected. I rarely went a day without speaking to him, and there were very few Skype dates that we missed. We tried to drink coffee and eat pancakes together Saturday mornings while we Skyped and would try visiting one another whenever possible.

We planned trips. We looked forward to visiting one another, using that as motivation for the time we spent apart.

We maximized our time together. Patrick proposed during one of our visits together. We took engagement photos, attended marriage conferences, went hiking, attended zoos, and went out to dinner. From wine tastings to go-karting, We made sure to have activities in mind that would be better if we got to do them together.

We were patient. Knowing that the distance wasn’t permanent motivated us to continue our relationship with the end in mind. The space helped us communicate more effectively as well as be intentional about the time we did get together. While both of us would have absolutely preferred being in the same city, the time apart meant appreciating one another and the time we did have together.