“What kind of relationship could you have?”

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A lot of people don’t understand long distance relationships. Why would someone ever choose to be in a relationship with someone they rarely get to see? Why spend hundreds of dollars on plane tickets when you could just find somebody else nearby? How do they do it? Why do they do it?

What I think a lot of people don’t realize is that they’re asking me how I love someone. I don’t do anything other than faithfully remain in a relationship with someone I love. There are a lot more challenges in this type of relationship than typical relationships, and I do recognize that. It’s almost impossible to plan things around the Marine Corps, and it does get old having FaceTime as the only face-to-face communication for months at a time. It gets expensive buying plane tickets and sending care packages. But if I were to divide that out by the number of dinner dates the average couple gets to go on, it’s probably not much different. If I got to see, talk to, hug, and kiss Alex every day, I would cherish every second of it. I would. But I don’t get to do those things, so I try to cherish every second we’re apart, because I really have no other choice. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I get angry. There is no making up for missed anniversaries, missed holidays, and missed 3am runs to Walmart. But this is only temporary, and I genuinely believe that being divided by distance has brought us closer together as a couple.

If I wasn’t absolutely positive that Alex is the man I’m going to marry, the person that knows every part of my soul – the good, the not-so-good, and the downright ugly, the person that will forgive me when I don’t deserve it, the person that will hang on, even when the water gets rough, I would not put myself through the heartache. But as I’m reminded too frequently, every cliche about life being too short is true. I have one life to live, it could end at any time, and I don’t want to wake up one day feeling regretful and alone.

People will talk about and judge literally anything in the world. I don’t expect everyone to understand my relationship, my feelings, and how I could possibly love someone that I saw for a total of 40 out of 365 days last year alone. But when someone asks me, “What kind of relationship could you have?” my feelings do get hurt. I don’t need anyone’s validation to feel secure in my relationship. But it does occasionally bruise me when someone suggests that I can’t have a healthy, happy, intimate relationship simply because I can’t be there in person 24/7. I write letters. I send texts. I spend hours on the phone. I FaceTime. I fly to North Carolina when I can. I have a relationship that is strong because we have vowed to face our problems as a team. I have a relationship that is unbroken because we have promised to be loyal and honest. I have a relationship that is fulfilling because we give and receive love equally. I have a relationship that is healthy because we make the most of the communication when we can. I have a relationship that is fun because we’re best friends. I have a relationship that is merciful because we forgive each other. Quite frankly, I have a relationship that rocks. Is it perfect? No. Do I really care that it isn’t perfect? No. Because I’m pretty sure that only exists in Nicholas Sparks books and D-list romance movies.

So really, the point is, I can have a relationship just like everybody else. And I can be happy, and loved, and fulfilled, and thankful no matter the circumstances.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller

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16 thoughts on ““What kind of relationship could you have?”

  1. You need to write a book, for real. ALMOST cried reading that and we both know I’m basically a statue, so good job. You have a beautiful way with words and I’m so proud of you for starting this blog and writing from your heart! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kendel

    Thank you so much for writing this… as a fellow marine girlfriend it’s so comforting to read my own thoughts, concerns and feelings coming from someone else’s mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Danielle

    My boyfriend is in the Marines too..we have been together for 4 years and reading this just made me feel so much better because it reminds me that so many people are going through the same thing I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tesia

    Shelbie! I’m so glad you shared this link on FB so I could discover its beauty! (I opened the link a few days ago and finally made time to read it. Creepy? Possibly. But not really, because I’m not creepy!) I seriously had tears in my eyes while reading it — your relationship is beautiful and your words speak an inspiring message about love that everyone can take something from. I know how you feel about the way words others say can bruise you when they make unnecessary judgements of something only you two can fully know and feel. That often comes from jealousy, and you are strong enough to disregard those words and continue on with confidence and faith! I love this, and I’m so sincerely happy for you.

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  5. So thankful that I stumbled across your blog and this post. I’m already getting a ton of criticism and “do you really think it’ll work?” questions and my boyfriend just left for boot camp. So I can only imagine what’s coming up with infantry training, his recon training (if he makes it all the way through), and deployment. His contract is for 5 years, but he’s keeping the 20 year option open too. I believe without any hesitation that God has been preparing my heart for him and for our relationship, but it seems that almost nobody believes it is possible. Thank you for sharing this, it was so encouraging for me to read. I just started a blog so that I can post about my entire journey through this experience. Hopefully someone can read mine one day and feel as encouraged as I have when reading yours!

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    1. I am so sorry that I didn’t see your comment until now! Thank you for your kind words – I just said a quick prayer for you. The best advice I can give you is to stay positive and focused. Boot camp will be over before you know it! If you know in your heart that this is right, don’t let the opinions of others water down your courage and strength. Plenty of people are able to jump through all of the hoops and obstacles that come with this life, and you can be one of them too. I’ll go follow your blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Rebecca

    I stumbled upon your blog today and i keep saying to myself, “did i write this and not remember that i did?” LOL. All of your words are taken directly from my head, you just have the gracefulness to pose them in ways i never could. Love this! Love you! You’re awesome!

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  7. I stumbled upon your blog due to the “I’m Married…” post on Huffington! While reading your viral post I thought I sounded kinda similar to you. Now that I’ve read this one I believe we could almost be best friends. My boyfriend is in the Army and we’ve been doing long distance for almost a year. All those feelings about long distance that you describe are exactly how I feel about it. It sucks and we do what we can to see each other. At the end of the day we both know we wouldn’t be doing this if we weren’t 100% sure about each other. Anyways, you do you girl. Marry that boy!

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  8. This really resonates with me. I was in a long distance relationship for five years before marrying the man. We’re about to celebrate our five year wedding anniversary and sometimes, in this Army life, it feels like we’re still living that long distance life. One thing I will be eternally grateful for is the strength and communication skills enduring distance has given my relationship! All the best to you both.

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  9. Ashley

    I just found your blog and love it ❤ I've been in a long distance relationship for 2.5 years and it's honestly made me a better, more confident person. I haven't always been entirely sure that he was the one, but he's always made me happy! We've got a year to go, and I can't wait until it's over, but I'm enjoying the time we have left until we're together!
    Good luck, can't wait to read more! I have a blog as well, and blog every once and a while about my ldr!
    http://purpleandpearl.blogspot.com/
    xoxo

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    1. Hi Ashley! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. Wishing you lots of happiness in your relationship, and I checked out your blog. I love it, and saw that you are a UWGB student? So cool! I go to UWW. I couldn’t find out how to follow your blog, but I would like to!

      xx
      Shelbie

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  10. This certainly opened my eyes! I always dreaded long-distance relationships. I appreciate your perspective….especially the fact that its so real, so so real.
    Praying you multiplied grace and strength.
    Cheers!

    Like

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