Miss Madeline Rose let me, Mr. Charles David, write a few words on what I learned from our FOUR years of long distance dating during college…
The first question people ask when they learn I am married: where did you meet her? Once they learn that we were high school sweethearts, they say, “Wow!” and proceed to the second question: “So did you both go to Rice?” Nope! Then comes the third question, and that one’s the kicker: “How did you survive long distance?!”
In our technological world of Facetiming, iMessaging and Snapchatting, it is easy to always be ‘connected’ to your significant other, but, as anyone who has tried long distance knows, there is still a huge difference between being connected through these apps and being with each other face-to-face.
Because of that, tip #1 would be that, if you really want a long distance relationship to work, you need to plan to spend time together, in person. For Madeline and I, that meant making one trip per semester to each other’s school, as well as trying to return to Dallas (where we both call home) on the same weekends, when possible.
I found one of the hardest things about long distance was being in a community that Madeline did not know. Visiting each other and walking through a day in the other’s shoes (I would legitimately take Madeline to class and work with me, and make her watch my sports games…) put faces and personalities to teachers and friends that before were only names and ideas. Those visits made it a lot easier to describe to each other how things were going during long-distance communication.
Planning face-to-face time shows your significant other that they are a high priority to you, and it gives you something to look forward to during some of the harder times of long distance. The actual time together gives you important moments to have conversations that you can’t have over the phone, to show each other affection, and to make new memories together to last you until the next face-to-face visit.
Okay, enough about face-to-face time. There are definitely a couple things we did that made the seasons of long distance better, so that they were not just times of waiting for the next face-to-face trip.
First, we set up clear expectations of when and how we would communicate with each other. We would text sporadically during the day, more or less depending on the busyness of that day. We would use snapchat instead of texting to show each other snapshots of our day in pictures instead of words (gives more insight to record 10 seconds of a boring lecture than to describe it through text!) Each night at a consistent time we would facetime. The only exception would be Thursday night, when I would have a weekly commitment that would keep me unable to facetime until after Madeline had gone to sleep. The big thing was that we had clearly communicated when we would facetime and when we would not.
A second thing that was really helpful for us was to write letters. Writing letters gives you the chance to really think through exactly what you want to say and how you are feeling—like writing in a journal. It gives your significant other something that can seem more real than the shiny screen of a text or snapchat—something to cherish that is more permanent, unique, usually more thoughtful, with your unique handwriting and choice of card.
This was especially helpful when our schedules weren’t very aligned (I worked at a camp for two summers where I rarely had cell service!) When I was at camp, I would write Madeline every week. While at Rice, usually about once a month, or at least for special occasions. I know those cards always made her feel cared for, and I always cherished any letter I received from her.
Okay, that’s it for now! If you have any specific questions, please ask, and Miss Madeline Rose and I would love to try and help!
bloom & grow forever,
Mr. Charles David
Thank you to Maddie Tober Photography for capturing these sweet moments at home during our first few months of marriage.