This blog post is based on the Loving Responses workshop given during today's Unit Heads Training of CFC-Singles for Christ East A.
Question: Is it okay to encourage long distance relationships and engagements?
If there is anything constant in this world, it is change. People change, and they do all the time. The only way people are able to keep abreast with the changes that are happening with each other is when they communicate. The more often they communicate, the greater the chances of being able to bridge the gap being created by change. This is why even in CFC, a couple is asked to have one-to-ones even if they live under one roof. Though they may be living together, the pressures that impinge and catalyze a person's character are so numerous that if two people don't talk to each other in a deep way, they will end up as strangers in due time.
If it is difficult for two people who live together to remain intimate with each other without communication, it is so much more with a special relationship between a man and a woman who will be able to see each other only in a couple of years. Even with today's technology, it can be very expensive and cumbersome.
Furthermore, being far apart does not allow a couple to know each other deeply, for instance, to see how each one would react or respond to crisis situations, how is each one like when angry, frustrated, disappointed, etc., and other situations which a couple not separated by distance are able to cope with together.
What we advocate therefore is for the couple to formally break off from each other, releasing the other person of his commitment to be loyal to the partner. So that if the other person, for example, meets someone else in the country or province where he/she is at, and with whom he/she gets interested in, it won't be an act of betrayal to do so. After the two years or so have gone by, the couple who formally parted with each other may ask themselves if they still love each other and would like to re-commit, then they can get back together again.
The same condition applies for engagement. There is no point in getting engaged if you are going to prolong the process of marriage preparation of which the engagement period is for.
This is the SFC stand. And now I understand better why Tito Roland and Tita Daisy were so against the offer for Bohol. They know it won't be healthy for me and Lawrence. While there are couples who have succeeded in keeping long distance relationships (those who already have a strong foundation and a great love for one another, like Kuya Leo and Shezha who recently got married), it still has a lot of downsides. As explained by Lawrence, the four characteristics of Christian love (free, fruitful, faithful, total) are not being satisfied in a long distance relationship. And as I shared to the unit heads this afternoon, it's better to have quarrels face-to-face than being fine at a distance. Learned that from experience. :)