Let’s say two students met at BYU-Idaho and have been together for a year. They just got engaged.

When people hear the big news, sometimes they are not the least bit surprised. Oftentimes, their acquaintances at BYU-I might ask, “What took you so long?”

Now, let’s switch up the story a bit.

Let’s say two individuals met years ago and have been in a long distance relationship for a couple years. They also just got engaged.

When people hear the big news, sometimes they are hesitant. Oftentimes, their acquaintances at BYU-I might ask, “Are you sure about this?”

Despite the fact that the second couple has been dating for a longer amount of time and have known each other for awhile, some people tend to question the seriousness of their relationship.

This is not new knowledge. Whether we admit it or not, we have all questioned the depth of long distance relationships at some point.

However, we should take long distance relationships seriously, because the emotional connection long distance relationships have the power to ensue is significant.

On Nov. 15, Los Angeles Canyon News published an article addressing how to handle five of the most common relationship problems.

“Long distance relationships require you to build solid emotional connection with your partner and have mutual understanding concerning your relationships,” according to the article.

Several students have experience with long distance relationships, whether they have been in one themselves or are associated with someone who is.

Many students have waited or at least tried to wait for missionaries, which tends to be a touchy or taboo topic to address. That is why I am mentioning it.

A few of my friends waited for missionaries. For some, their relationship soared once their love returned home from the mission.

For others, it was a challenging experience which included wandering thoughts and restless nights.

For a select few, like myself, it was both.

I, myself, am guilty of waiting for a missionary. But I do not feel guilty.

While waiting for him, I will admit I spent some time pondering and thinking about what our future would be like once he returned home. But at the end of the day, I knew his heart laid in the service of the Lord and I supported that.

When we received the opportunity to email and write letters to each other, our emotional connection grew strong. We valued each moment we had to communicate with each other, but we both remained focused on what was most important–our relationship with the Savior.

Now that he is home, I recognize long distance has helped us to become more independent and find who we are as individuals, what our priorities consist of and how to balance work, school and our relationship.

Because of the distance, I feel a much greater appreciation for the moments we get to spend quality time together. I have a greater appreciation for who he is and I have a greater appreciation for the countless pure moments we share.

A study published in The Journal of Communication found that men and women in long distance relationships tend to be more likely to share meaningful thoughts and feelings than those who are not, because they idealize their partners when spending time with them.

Long distance relationships are just as meaningful as those that are not.

Next time you hesitate to take a long distance relationship seriously, remember all the work put into keeping that relationship strong, and think twice.