Sunday, February 13, 2011
Volunteering abroad and Relationships
“Distance doesn't matter if you really love the person, what matters most is your honesty and trust for that relationship to work out” - Trish. The second international holiday celebrated after New Year is Valentine’s Day. History has it that Valentine’s Day came from St. Valentine a priest who lived around 270 AD in Rome and he attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II who ruled during this time. He believed that marriage made the men weak. So he issued an edict forbidding marriage to assure quality soldiers. Although it was forbidden, St. Valentine being a bishop, held secret marriage ceremonies of soldiers and young men. This was in opposition to Claudius II who had prohibited it leading to his execution. Before St. Valentine was executed he wrote a letter to a daughter of his jailer with whom he had a deep friendship. In his letter he signed: “from your valentine.” When a volunteer goes abroad for a while it means they will be cut off from their loved ones for a period of time putting a strain on their relationship. Or when they are abroad they could fall in love with one of the local people and after their work is done will have to leave. The volunteers will be forced into a long distant relationship. Here are a couple of tips to help your relationships survive when you are abroad:
The volunteer and their partner should sit down and talk about the upcoming adventure. They have a meeting and define their relationships. They should define if they just have fun, if they are serious and if they are ready to go to the next level to engagements or marriage. For those who are already engaged or married should discuss the effect of the long distance will have on their marriage. One of the strains of the relationships will be lack of intimacy, no hugging or kissing or physical contact. Being miles away from each other compounds the problems that they could be having while they are together. Also while they are away they should promise to remain faithful to each other during the duration of the volunteer abroad work.
Due to technology the world has been made smaller and smaller. There are numerous ways to stay in touch with each other. The various ways of communications are through, calls, internet calls, text messages and the use of social media (facebook and twitter). These are great ways to communicate and they are also mostly inexpensive. In a relationship, quality and quantity communication is very important and it ought to be frequent. Written communication should be intimate and extensive to give the other partner a good picture of what the other is feeling. Although there could be nothing new to talk about just staying on the line while hearing the other person breathe does wonders. Due to the different time zones that the volunteers and partners are in they will have to schedule when to talk. They could talk once a day, three times a week or once a week, depending on the schedules.
If the volunteer is planning to go abroad for a long period of time like six months to three years, then they will have to schedule to meet with their partners. Extended absence could lead to the death of the relationship. They could organize to see each other after every two or three months. Visiting each other shows that you still care. The volunteer and partner could both go to a mutually exclusive place and enjoy each other’s company. It is said real connections are made through touching, feeling and smelling and has strong ties to memory; it will be easier to keep the relationship going if they see each other at some point. When the couple is away from each they could still schedule to do some things together, for example even though they are separated by distance they could still watch movies together, and listen to the same songs
The biggest killer of all relationships is the opinion of others. When the volunteers friends weigh in their opinions about the relationship they will often be negative. This negativity adds more strain in the relationship and the couple will lose faith that they can keep the long distant relationship. They could ask for advice from other people but be objective on taking the advice.