10 tips on how to nurture long distance relationships.
With good intentions, my mother recently said, “You miss so much since you are not living near your children”. Recently a friend shared how she was running over to her daughter’s home to take soup to her because she was sick. Another friend told me about her husband coaching their grandson’s baseball team.
Now, let’s look at those of us that can’t enter into those same conversations. Your children, grandchildren, parents or siblings live hours away. How do we nurture those relationships?
You’re not alone. A 2012 study conducted by AARP concluded; “families of the 50+ are spread out with children, grandchildren, and siblings living far away. Most parents have a child living within an hour’s drive of them, but more than one in four does not have any children living this close. Many have children living five or more hours away. There are similar patterns with grandchildren. When it comes to siblings, most do not have any siblings within an hour’s drive. More than half have siblings living five or more hours away.”
How do we cultivate close relationships with family that live miles, days or oceans away?
1. Don’t feel like you need to justify your reply. When people ask why your family is apart? Respond; “They live where God called them into ministry”. or “They chose to spend their retirement years in a place they call home”
2. Share in other’s joy. When friends share their family joys, show them how much you care by engaging in the conversation.
3. Set up a family group on IMessage or similar app. Share comments, photos and videos of what’s happening in your lives
4. Plan a specific day to Skype or FaceTime. If you don’t plan, it won’t happen.
5. Include all family members from the youngest to oldest in the video conversations. Our 6 month old granddaughter, is beginning to engage in what she sees on the computer screen. In time she will know who we are. Our 16 month grandson and I have fun playing drums back and forth on our computers.
6. Schedule specific travel to see the family. During those times let your focus be on family.
7. Send a care package for no particular reason other than to show you care.
8. Buy magnets with each family member’s photo. Place on the refrigerator and play a game with the little ones asking them to name each family member.
9. Pray for each other. As challenges and triumphs arise, let your family know about them. Ask them to pray or thank God for them.
10. Know that God’s plan is bigger and better than your comfort. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future…” Jeremiah 29:11
Please share how you build a relationship with your family whom you are apart from.
Dedicated to my two children, their spouses and children who have chosen to live life in the calling God has placed on their lives.