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How D’Niel and I made our 6-year long-distance relationship work

  • Date:
    27 September 2022
  • Author:
    Rolene Strauss

So, after prayer and a never-ending search, you finally found that special someone. But due to unforeseen circumstances, you end up living far from the person you have fallen in love with. No matter how much you care for each other, a small part of you surely worries about how or if your relationship will last the distance between you.

It is no secret that long-distance relationships are probably one of the most challenging things to “get right”, and these types of relationships don’t always survive their winter seasons. However, I would like to comfort you by telling you that at one stage D’Niel and I were in a long-distance relationship for 6 YEARS! Of those 6 years, we were married for 2 years and parents for 1 year (and Miss SA and Miss World happened in between). This time in our lives was not easy; however, we made it through.

Engagement shoot (in secret 🤫) (2015)
We laugh at each other every day 😊 (2021)
Just very much in love 🥰 (2022)

Here are 3 things that worked for us and helped us to make a success of our long-distance relationship. I hope that our experience can be of value to you too.

1. Commit to each other!

From the start, D’Niel and I decided to commit to each other and knew that we were in it for the long run. We chose each other and decided to trust, be gentle, and put in the hard work.

The distance between you could urge you to think about the future of your relationship. Is this it? Do you want to spend the rest of your life with this person? Are you ready to commit? Because you spend so much time apart, long-distance relationships can be filled with doubts, fears, and even jealousy. If you are sure you want to commit, verbally affirm one another frequently. These affirmations minimise uncomfortable feelings and clarify where you two stand as a couple.

Tip: The next time you speak to your partner, tell them how much you value and adore your relationship, and assure them that you are committed. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to seek affirmation if you are unsure of where you stand. It’s as nice to say, “I love and respect you and wish we could be together today,” as it is to hear it.

2. Build a strong foundation

D’Niel and I knew that our relationship would be rock solid if we could stand this test of time (and distance). We used this time to develop a strong foundation built on good communication, unconditional respect, and patience for one another.

We believe that ultimate growth happens at the border of support and challenge. As wonderful as it is to be together all the time, it is also important to be independent and have a life apart of your relationship. Developing individually as well as together helped build a very strong foundation for us. To feel connected yet independent, communicate as much (or as little) as you need to. We are currently in a time where we have 24/7 access to one another. If you and your partner are in a long-distance relationship, dedicating much of your spare time to catching up might be an excellent idea. However, it is important to remember that it could be good to use some of your spare time to be alone or with your friends.

Tip: It is crucial that you and your partner talk about what you would like to develop as a strong foundation for your relationship. Find what works for you as a couple because there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to relationships. Furthermore, be willing to adjust your communication styles as life brings about new and unanticipated demands.

3. Live in the present

D’Niel and I had to learn how to live in the present and decided to embrace every season and moment of our relationship. When we were together, we were together! We focused on each other and let go of any distractions. We tried not to overthink the goodbyes but instead saw them as an opportunity for the heart to grow fonder again.

When you live apart, you can’t always be there to give each other a hug of comfort or physically attend each other’s milestone events. Therefore, long-distance couples need to respond to each other’s attempts to connect with more thought and be present in each other’s lives even when you are not physically there.

Tip: Since you can’t always be there in person, make the call or talk with your partner a priority, just as you would any business meeting or doctor’s visit. Put in the effort to be thoughtful and pre-emptively call or text your partner if they had an important day to see how it went.


In conclusion, I would like to remind you that a long-distance relationship could be a blessing in disguise.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4: 2-4

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