10 Lessons from Long-Distance

  I roughly spend about 100$ a week in gas (about a month’s rent spent on fuel). During the weekdays alone I commute 418 miles. I am in something called a long-distance relationship, and it brings certain challenges to the table.


 I often have to shower at my office Monday mornings, and my clothes are in so many different places it makes me want to cry. I bring all my groceries to work. Sometimes, when I am feeling crazy I dream about a walk-in closet. Aunt Jan picks up the slack of my crazy life by babysitting my dog a majority of the time.

Judge & I brainstormed a list on Sunday night of what we learned by being apart for a year of our two-year relationship.

Now, I feel I can shed some light on what I’ve learned through out this year…

1.) Resolve conflict quickly: When you only have one night together, you learn how to lay all your negative feelings on the table quick. This is how I feel. This is how you feel. This is what you did that hurt me. No  dramatic metaphors, no long drawn out crying spouts, no long awkward pauses or car drives that are silent. You state what hurt right when it hurts. The other person connects, empathizes & apologizes. You figure out a way to not do whatever it was again. You pray for each other. You move on and instantly have fun together in the same 20 minute time- span. Moving on..

2.) You learn to appreciate Waffle House, Choo-Choo’s & Mexican places : Yes, this is the stage of life where you don’t have a home. There is no picket fence, mantle to decorate, place to rest or watch T.V. Cars get dark and cold quickly, gas is expensive and burns way to fast.  Stop worrying about the extra finance associated with eating out a whole helluva a lot. While other couples budget for groceries and mortgages you learn to fraction off part of your income for cheese dip & late-night hash browns  It’s okay. Slicing out a time to be alone is vitally important. You have to get on the same page before meeting up with the group. In the meantime you can enjoy  that almost always, the late-night waitresses at WaHo will adore your puppy-houseless-love and tell you that you are the cutest couple in the world, thus assuring you that being together is worth it, though you have to tip large sweet ladies in this season.


3.) Stop it, do not text each other every hour of the day. It’s annoying to other people and it’s never  satisfying in the end. Yes, an occasional funny joke and or “I really miss you” text is appropriate but the daily-late night catch up is infinitely better when you live your life separately. Love does not require constant assurance. Love trusts. Love does not require an instant replay  or a tight leash. In the meantime, find a certain group of people that actually want to hear about you and your boyfriend. Make it a very select few (for me, it’s Jessica & Lauren), the vast majority of people don’t want to hear about your love-life.  Unless you have a blog, which means I am inherently breaking rule #3 but I suppose you (the audience) willingly chose to read this list sooo….

4.) Speaking of the daily-late- night- catch -up, don’t do it daily. Skip a day of chatting on the phone talking on Skype…. because the anticipation makes it more meaningful. And if there is something else going on in the world with warm blooded people in front of your face, do that instead. Being miserable is un-attractive and boring so don’t moan on the phone. Figure out what you are proud of and boast about that while talking!! If something is making you truly heart-broken, be honest about it. Allow him/her to comfort even while apart. Also, remember that Skype has given the world a precious-gift, the ability to see the person you love face-to-face even if  you are 92.5 miles apart (hypothetically speaking). Don’t get lazy and just do phone-calls which can lead to one person rambling and the other multi-tasking (guilty as charged) . Call each other in random times of day. Don’t fall into a boring routine. I love when Judge calls me  right when I wake up, or if he calls me at the office and I have to lock myself away. Don’t do what you’ve always done, show the person you  want to hear them &  don’t just have to talk because you are required. I love when I randomly will get a blog-comment or Facebook message from Judge (he despises getting on the iternet & social networks of all kinds). Step out of your box, mix it up! This also means, that I need to assume that if I tweet, Instagram or Facebook message Judge this doesn’t count as my communication for the day because he won’t see those things, nor will he appreciate them. Hard Lesson for Katie: Not everyone is required to be on a computer 8 hours a day.

5.) Attraction is still very important even if you can’t touch. He can still  tell you that you are beautiful everyday if you are vulnerable enough to show him. Get over the stigma of the “selfy”, and send pictures to one another of what you are wearing that morning.  I still get dressed up for Judge when were apart and I still love to show him what I put together:) Facial expressions and slight nuanced gestures can be captured by the wonders of FaceTime.

6.) Dependency is the number one hole couples fall into. You don’t want your relationship to lack new dreams, initiative and risk. While you are apart do what you love to do and do things that scare you. Blog more. Go to concerts, explore new places, audition for a play, enjoy more girl’s days. Think outside the box. You are not married yet and you don’t have children, so stop acting like an old hag. If you want to go back to Oxford, apply. If you love children, learn to be a father. If you want to do intramural football and basketball, now you have the chance to practice. If you still want to chase down the dream of being a doctor, go back to school.  Be whoever God calls you to be. Do what you love to do.  Move to Persia for a month, take another creative writing class, stay out all night long. Move to Florida to train dolphins or be a worship leader at a new church (shout out to our friends Nate & Morgan who are doing just that).  Judge reclaimed slow morning breakfasts and working out once I left Athens. I’ve reclaimed girls- only-nights while in Atlanta.

Love is patient and love trusts. If you really believe God is working for your good and he wants y’all to be together, he will work out the details of the when and how. If you are couple that always has to be with each other & spends the vast majority of your time alone or often uses guilt to communicate,  it might be time to take a step back.  Remember who you are.  I Judge & I always have been forced into a “step-back” situation right when we became overly-dependent. Thank the good Lord. I have an extreme, addictive personality for those of you who don’t know:)

7.) “Idle hands are the devil’s tools” In a long-distance relationship you no longer have time to be bored! There’s never a dull, “I don’t know, what do you want to do right now? I don’t care. You pick where we eat. I don’t know we can stay and sit here if you want. It’s whatever” There’s never a lazy day when you just so happen to “snuggle” in bed for too long. There’s no longer a feeling where you treat the person you love like just another buddy or worse, just a body. All week long you are planning what y’all will do together the night you see each other. We are defensive over “our time” and if someone or something messes with that, we kick back.


8.) Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder, it shows you how fond your heart already is:  When we lived in Athens last fall, things could become common-place. We worked together everyday. Now, all week I fight  to keep my joy and hope. I grit my teeth and sometimes I do succumb to sleeping and eating a lot to pass the time. But when Friday hits and I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I become so giddy. I’m ready to dance, sing and be silly. Finally, the wait is over and I get to drive back to my man! I plan my outfits down to the T, where as in the beginning of the week I tend to throw something on. My make-up is perfect, I’m wearing Judge’s favorite scent and I can’t contain myself. Recently my coworker Rumbi told me that when she sees me in pictures with Judge I glow different than I do in the office.  It can be taxing to learn how to wait, to learn how to communicate clearly and to learn to sacrifice. But it does show you how strong the love you have for someone really is when it’s nearly impossible to leave them.

9.) Learning to say “hello” & goodbye: Judge said as we brainstormed (at Waffle House, of course)  that the number one thing he learned from being apart is the importance of BIG hellos & goodbyes. I would get hurt when Judge didn’t say HELLO grand enough or didn’t set aside a part of his day to say goodbye. I need dramatic entrances and exits, remember I use to be a theater girl? If I pine for you all week long and then I see you and it seems like no big deal or you are stressed or talking on the phone or thinking of where to keep the dog or checking your bank account, this will cause me to pull-back. If you stay at your damn roommate meeting too long on a Sunday night right before I leave, I will just go back and drive to Atlanta there and then (once again, just a hypothetical).

Judge spent most of his life going back and forth between his mom and dad’s house and so goodbyes were common and insignificant. I grew up in a family that still gathers together in a circle and sings, “We are Family” in public parking lots every time we part on Vacation or Holidays. N0 matter how many times Aunt Jill &Aunt Jan  leave my mom they will sob on their drive back. If I don’t have some grand ending moment  it feels like I’m not loved. Judge is wonderful at this now! He drives to my house after his roommate meeting to take me on a walk, or get a cider at Jittery Joes or buy me apple juice to drink at the picnic table outside of the gas-station. This makes all the difference in the world.

10.) The Lord is never long-distance I know that sounds like a youth-group cliche, but it’s so true. If I am down in the dumps on a Tuesday afternoon, feeling like time is ticking by, feeling fat because I’ve ate too much to curb the boredom or building a shrine idol of our relationship by putting all our best pics in an album and mindlessly scrolling through them (once again, just a hypothetical) I remember something… hello, God is still here. He’s in the room, watching me. Loving me. I remember the beauty of The Inspiration Station Gospel Radio Station as I drive through horrible Riverdale. I sing my praises loud. I ask desperately for joy, and he always fills me up (for less than 3 dollars a gallon, mind you). It’s the only way I make it. He reminds you that you are only commanded to take life a day at a time. The first night I moved to Atlanta, I imagined a WHOLE YEAR and cried myself to sleep. You can’t do that when your apart. God gives you strength for today and that’s all you can handle.

This list was inspired by this 15 point one on how to stay married (click here) 


And just so I can brag about my sweet-shy boyfriend who may never guest blog (though four of you have demanded it), I will include this sweet letter he wrote to me from Mozambique,

“You could send me a message that just says hello and it would probably move me to tears! It’s ridiculous the way my heart moves for you. I just wish I had one of those quiet moments with you, I don’t know why but I feel like I am having one now. No one is around, I am not on a time crunch and things are just moving slower for a moment, if only you were here. It’s funny, those quiet moments seemed like things to avoid, and now the pleasure of just hearing and feeling you breathe in and out would absolutely undo me. There is an excitement, though, that comes with reacquainting myself with you again, the thought of bringing life to all of these aches and lingering memories, and realizing that no matter how vivid the memories are or how much I look at the pictures, the moment will come when it hits me how much better you are in real life. You will have your chick flick! I can’t wait to listen to music again with you, to drop back the PT top and just cruise around Athens. I was telling one of the girls here how I realized one day on the beach a couple of days ago that the next time I see you, you will be more beautiful than I have ever known and it has nothing to do with anything you have done, and solely with the work God is doing in my heart for you. I just find myself thinking  more and more of the things I love and miss, and things I didn’t even realize I knew about you make you more and more attractive. This summer has been so good, it has helped me so much to see how much I really do enjoy all the time I get with you and how much of a treasure you really are to me.

I miss the random dancing numbers and the yoga sessions you reel me into
I miss fighting your own thoughts for your attention
I miss how blatantly awkward you can be because of your discernment into people and your resolve to deal with stuff “here and now”
I miss your “All the suddens”
I miss Target!! at 11 oclock at night
I miss raking my brain for how to make something perfect for you
I miss your shy fragile demeanor when you are around people you don’t know and your queen like attitude when you are with your girl-friends
I LOVE your tender heart that comes out when you have been hurt or are upset and I love contending with “Pinata Katie”
I love knowing that I can come over at 5 in the morning or 11 at night and I will be met at the door by and smile and this beautiful girl that is just happy to see me.
I love that you are continually trying to sneak me into your life
I love how much more I desire you because I now know what it is like to not have you without actually having to go through the pain of losing you” 

{Cue Waffle House waitresses saying “awh” in unison}

10 thoughts on “10 Lessons from Long-Distance

  1. That was great, Katie. Loved it and some parts echoed with me, but I have also gained a lot to look forward to in continuing LONG long distance relationships. Thanks! (also loved Judge’s sweet letter; Iain is a big sweet gushy writer as well. There’s something about a man of God pouring his heart out to you in writing that makes me shrivel in love.)

  2. Love this Katie!! I esp loved the dependency paragraph and the paragraph about doing what you want to do and leaving the details up to God. that’s so scary but so freeing. and I loved the last paragraph about God not being long distance 😀 And Judge’s letter was like something out of a movie. Seriously, you must be floating on a cloud everyday. 🙂

  3. So I was reading the blog post of your today where you wrote about what you learned being in a long distance relationship and at the end of the blog post, the very end I realized something. I don’t think of you as being Katie with her boyfriend judge but “Katie and Judge”. I am doing a bad job of explaining this… Mom and Dad I always think of as a unit. They are both separate and unique and one is mom and the other is dad. They are wholly individuals but yet a single entityi the same. I just realized that you and Judge have become that.

    I didn’t even realize there was a difference until tonight. My friend Dana is just Dana and she has a boyfriend named Eric. To me they aren’t a unit. You and Judge are.

    You guys fight to make it work. You spend money to see each other for two days every week. You make the little moments count and then on top of all of it you acknowledge what you have done to make it work and don’t give credit to yourself but to each other. Many couples can’t do this. I don’t even know if I could do that if I was in a relationship.

    Hearing about your relationship and what love you have for each other gets me really excited to see what God has in store for me. If it is half what you and judge have, or half of what mom and dad have, I will be truly lucky.

    Love you! 8 more days

  4. if there is one thing yall have every right to write about its this. i loved reading this. i feel like i could be in a long distance relationship now so much more effectively. i love this. i love judge’s letter…although his location on the privacy scale makes me nervous for him : )
    this is so real and so simple and so funny. one of my favorites. love you n judge.

  5. “Love does not require constant assurance. Love trusts. Love does not require an instant replay or a tight leash.”

    I really like that line, Katie.

  6. Roo,
    It is way late for me. Two hours ago, I kicked John and Kristen out of Mom and my room, because your two youngest siblings just figured out how to tickle a person’s ribs so it really hurts – sharp and from the side. Plus they let Kyro on our master bed. There are some areas which must remain “sacred” away from the dogs. Anyway, everyone is asleep, and I am in a caffeine induced blog state brought on by a Moravian pastor who told me the coffee served at the Love Feast was decaf – a story for another time.

    I always thought I adored college about as much as any time – then I met your Mom when we were both in Atlanta. We had some really great times in spurts intermixed with long periods of absence.
    The first long-distance relationship phase was when I went back to A&M and she was working full time for IBM. That was not so difficult because at the time we agreed to see other folks. Of course she got all the great dates and all my friends graduated on time leaving me with much less of a social life for my third senior semester
    The second phase of the long-distance relationship was much more difficult. After college I landed my first job in Athens, GA with Westinghouse. While I was training, your Mom and I got engaged. Then I went on the road for a solid year. We did not do the apart, part very well. She was working long hours, and I was living in hotel rooms.
    I think I visited 30 states. I went camping in the Rocky Mountain wilderness alone, (against all Boy Scout rules) saw the Braves play in 5 away cities and the Cubs at Wrigley before they installed lights. I went to Churchill Downs the week before the Kentucky Derby. I bet on Texas Aggie to win and collected $20. I toured the Chattanooga Choo Choo, saw Mount Rushmore, and went trout fishing at a boy’s camp in the Badlands. I went sightseeing at Cape Kennedy and met Bubba in Ft Lauderdale while he was there during pro baseball spring ball. One of his friends fell asleep on the beach the morning after a long binge and he ended up with sun poisoning. I ate oysters in the French Quarter in New Orleans and drove way too fast on the longest bridge in the US west on I-10. You cannot get caught speeding because everyone sees the state patrol. I ran out of gas in Kansas on a Sunday, but not because I was careless. Folks there just do not open up the pumps on the back roads on the Lord’s Day. I stayed in some motels for less than $10.00 and I probably broke some corporate insurance guidelines when I took the company truck across the border from Brownsville, Texas into Matamoros, Mexico.
    I was very good at being single, but your Mom and I were developing separate lives. That next first year of expected marriage bliss, did not exist for us, because we were playing catch up; figuring out all the things we should have worked out in advance. Fortunately for us (and I guess for you) through our newlywed Sunda y school class, marriage counseling, and many nights of prayer we were able to resolve our numerous open issues.
    Enough of me and Mom – now for you and Judge. There have been times when our family would want to say to you two, “Come on already. Wouldn’t it just be easier to take the next step? Why keep us all in suspense?” Yet as I pondered your 10 things you learned in a long distance relationship I realized I did not learn a single one. You and Judge are working out the hard things before you make a lifelong final commitment. In today’s culture what you are up to is just not done anymore. Your patience – as tough as it is – will yield a lifelong benefit.
    I have two final thoughts. First. Prolonged absence does not make the heart grow fonder. Whoever says so is clueless, just like I was. Second. We treasure those things for which we work the hardest. It is clear that the two of you cherish each other. Enjoy every minute of singleness. It was a great time in life, being with Mom before we were married. I wonder if our relationship would have survived being single another year. I remember thinking “If I wait she may not marry me.” In contrast, you two are miles ahead of where we were, and we turned out OK. Relationships are a journey to be taken a day at a time. Revel in today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
    Hey I feel the caffeine wearing off and best get a few hours of sleep.

  7. @April I am so glad that you found so many connections & enjoyed Judge’s letter. That’s why I blog all these vulnerable things & am real so that people can honestly connect. It makes me so happy that you commented & that you gained something from my gushing. I can’t wait to meet Ian!!! Will you bring him to the Christmas party??
    @ Lauren I love that you commented after taking the hour to edit this beast of a post. What a faithful friend! You are such a wonderful example of loyalty & encouragement, and I am extremely grateful for you. I guess the trick of falling in love is to love yourself before you do. Judge’s letter to me from Mozambique was so wonderful, and I think the reason he can love me like that is because the Lord already made me confident in who i was before we ever started dating. Praise, Jesus
    @Jessica Longino I love that you were worried for Judge’s privacy, but though he said he turned red when he re-read his letter, he told me it was fine and he enjoyed the post!! Awh, I love how shy & private he is! It’s so fun and different than me, clearly. Hahah, you are always looking out for your other bestie, “jump now, think later” – me “no, think think think” Jessica Longino
    @Jessie Baker, Awh man you have always been our biggest fan from day one! I love getting this message from my older sister. You’ve been there through EVERY stage of my love life, whether it was my bus romances in 1st grade, to the terrible break-ups when you made me lasagna and drew a hot bath, till now. Thanks for always being so supportive, even though your baby sister was 1st. You’ve never shown any jealousy or sadness and comparison, and I know God is going to blow you away with the perfect man he brings to you even though it wasn’t sketchy- 1st daters who don’t drive you home and make you take a taxi. YOU DESERVE THE BEST!!
    @Tom Lebo, how much do I love you commenting? A whole lot! I am not surprised you love that part, because those thoughts come directly from many conversations I had with you & Allison. Those Lebos are always teaching us new things!! I love & miss you.

  8. This post made me cry a little. I love the honesty and insight. I’m thinking back to our “man lists” and what we thought we knew about relationships during those years…it makes me laugh now. It’s so fun to keep living and learning together! Love you and Judge!

  9. I loved this!!! It was really insightful, witty, and deeply full of wise practical life skills. You and judge are obviously growing so much and learning so incredibly much. I’m so proud of y’all! I can even see a huge difference from summer to now. You guys have really learned how to meet each others needs and expectation in two days a week. I love y’all and this post so much! Def one of my favorite posts!

    And Jessica, didn’t you know judge is the most public attention lover we know?? 😉 haha jk!

  10. Pingback: Remembering |

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