But if there are others reading this, I want you to know for the record: I do not recommend the trans-Pacific relationship. We managed it by the Grace of God. If I may sound pagan for a moment, for a relationship like this to work, all the planets have to align at once. And that is not easy. But God is sovereign over the affairs of men.
Anyways, that being noted, I put this together and emailed them (I have tried not to include things that belong to every couple: prayer, love, good communication etc)
- Enjoy this time and each other as a gift from God.
- And yet overseas relationships necessarily take more time. It’s good to allow for that. So don’t make blithe promises you can’t keep. The Pacific Ocean is a serious body of water and a large barrier to overcome.
- Make the most of your time apart: It’s certainly easier to be pure, and also you are forced to express yourself almost exclusively in written words. (Less so now with Skype. Pity.)
- And yet, the best way to plumb the depths of your friendship is certainly face to face. You want to maximize that as much as you can. Don’t believe that sending an email is truly relating. The verse I'm thinking of is 3 John v13-14.
- Don’t believe the illusion that to marry someone from another country is ‘exotic’. It quickly ceases to be, and starts to be very, very normal. And the exotic thing is at first an attraction, but it can end up very quickly being a destructive illusion.
- Be aware that if you meet someone overseas, then it often has an ‘unreal’ element to it. Your guard is down, you are on vacation, or you are working in a new environment. People see you as different, and you usually have a lot to talk about. But back down on earth, things are far more ‘normal’.
- Home is always and only where you live as husband and wife. Never talk about ‘home’ as being the country of your origin or where your parents live. If you see home as being ‘back with the parents’, then it will harm your relationship. That’s in Genesis 2:24.
- I decided in my heart that wherever we lived at any one time was the place we would live until we die! (Or until God changes our mind). The reason for this is that if I say: ‘We’ll be here for 3 years’, then we’ll always pine for another place, and we will be less likely to put down good roots. I found that easier to decide in my heart than my wife did.
- Become international, by which I mean: don’t see yourself as particularly Australian, or as an American. That will only put distance between you both. I say this especially to Australians, who like to make loose and unfair distinctions between Australians and Americans. So American jokes are out. To me, it is far too insecure anyway.
- Your marriage does not mean that you have legitimate travel for the rest of your lives! It means that you will basically travel only one dark path: LAX to SYD. For us, it excludes the rest of the world. We can never spend money going east of New York City. It is almost irresponsible for us to do so.
- Get involved quickly in a church: both feet, and don’t hold back.
- Make your vows in one country, and a have decent celebration in the another one.
- You will face difficult choices if God gives you children: One of you will live further away from Grandparents than the other. There is not much you can do about that, except by persuading one set to move, or by moving to a third country denying both sets of parents. But living near grandparents may be very good and helpful for you (and for them), but it is not the Golden Calf. You’ll just have to talk about that with each other and with your parents.
- Obey all rules of immigration and do it quickly and thoroughly. Start on the path of dual citizenship as quickly as you can.
- If God gives you kids, register their birth quickly at the consulate of the nation that the child was not born in. Make sure that their dual citizenship is secure early on.
- Keep in touch with friends from both sides of the Pacific.
- Your true home is not your simple address. As Hebrews says: 'Long for a better country prepared by God.'
You may be helping my new friends if you care to comment. And feel free to forward this post as an email to those you know in a similar situation.
Pic on FLickr by KyussQ.