Q: My boyfriend and I are going to different colleges this fall. I have no idea how to make a long distance relationship work. We agreed that this is a relationship we really want to work on, but I’m worried that once he gets there, he’s going to forget all about me. After all, he’ll be surrounded by hot college girls out on the hunt for a college boyfriend, parties, and clubs. I know I sound so insecure and clingy and jealous, but I don’t want to be! I’m really trying to surrender my worries to God, and to trust both God and my boyfriend, but it’s really hard! What can I do to help my relationship with my boyfriend last through the distance and separation of college?
I’ve given a lot of thought to your question, and (ironically) it boils down to one of those incredibly simple statements that packs a two-hundred-pound punch: If your boyfriend is trustworthy, he will be trustworthy. No matter what “hot college girl” is on the hunt for your guy, if he is a man of integrity, he’ll be true to you. Parties, clubs, sports, the thrill of being on his own–none of that will hold a candle to his relationship with you if he is as dedicated to you as you deserve. And I say that with a big “if.” I’m not gonna lie, college (especially freshman year) has a way of tempting otherwise devoted boyfriends or girlfriends to choose freedom over love. There is a chance that your boyfriend will choose to end your relationship, just as there’s a chance that you might. The former is largely out of your control. But the cool thing is that if he does decide to end things with you (or even the other way around), you can have peace knowing that if God truly wants the two of you to be together, the long distance won’t tear you apart.
On a practical note, though, there’s nothing that drives away a guy faster than a clingy or jealous girl! So don’t let yourself be that girl. How can you ditch the fear and jealousy (of the girls he might potentially meet)? By learning to trust that God is in control, and to give Him ALL your hopes and dreams. Give God permission to make or break this relationship (since only He knows if this guy is truly what’s best for you), and then walk with confidence that you deserve a guy who will choose you over every other girl he meets.
Here are some verses to chew on as you think through your relationship and the challenges ahead:
A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)
Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous. (Proverbs 27:4)
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?” These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:25)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me-everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:6-9)
Giving up control is one of the hardest things to do–but so essential! Only when we give it all to God–trusting Him completely–can we ever have a healthy relationship at all. Holding on too tightly is usually a sign that something isn’t quite right in our hearts (like insecurity or a lack of faith) or in the relationship itself (like emotional dependency or physical sin). I’ll be praying for your heart as you decipher which it is, and start growing past it! (I say “start” because just when we think we’ve mastered the art of surrender, God shows us something else in our lives that we’ve got a death grip on, and asks us to give that to Him too!)
The amazing part is that any time God asks us to “give up” something, He actually exchanges it for something far better. Yeah, this relationship may seem like everything you’ve ever wanted at this moment, but if God does ask you to give it up for Him, you can rest assured He won’t leave you empty-handed. Whether He offers you back a deeper friendship with Him (yes, please!) or a healthier relationship with a guy down the road (woohoo!), either way it’s a win-win for you.
He is WORTHY of your trust. He DEMANDS your trust. He LONGS FOR your trust.
Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. (Proverbs 3:5-6, The Message)
Let me just add that you are going to have the same challenges and choices that he is. Focus your eyes on doing well in school and growing in the Lord, and see where your relationship goes. You may find that, as you both rediscover who you are in light of your newfound freedom, your love will only grow stronger. Or, you may find that you begin drifting apart. Either way, give it all to God, and don’t forget to enjoy your first year of college!