Whether you’re #foreversingle or a professional in the dating game come Valentine’s Day tomorrow, it’s no secret that relationships take work. Molly Janczyk, ’15, an admissions counselor at Messiah, knows from her own long-distance experience the effort required for love to last.
Janczyk and her boyfriend Tyler have dated officially for 16 months, but their relationship timeline begins way before 2017. At the age of 18, they met at a summer church camp. Tyler’s The Wiz shirt prompted Janczyk – a musical enthusiast – to initiate their first conversation.
“We definitely had chemistry from the get-go,” Janczyk said. “But, I thought to myself ‘this is not going to work; this is church camp. I’m going to Messiah, he’s going to the Marines.’”
Despite the distance and probability against them, Janczyk and Tyler remained in contact throughout her years in undergrad. During the times he wasn’t required to travel, Tyler occasionally visited Janczyk at Messiah.
“We ended up – not being together – but really growing a deep friendship. We both dated around so it wasn’t like we were waiting for each other specifically, but we had a lot of respect for each other throughout the years.”
At the age of 21, Tyler announced that he planned on moving home and enrolling in college to become a pilot. Janczyk realized that their relationship had the potential to develop into something more serious.
“At that point, we said, ‘we haven’t been around each other years, so let’s just feel it out by going on dates again and spending time together,’” Janczyk said.
After roughly a month of casual dating, Tyler and Janczyk officially placed a title on their destined relationship. However, maintaining that status has been no easy feat.
As an HDFS Messiah alum from a small town, Janczyk acknowledged how her background influenced her to be open and communicative with her feelings. On the other hand, Tyler, who grew up outside of Philadelphia and was a member of the Marine Corps, can be more straightforward and passive.
“Together it’s actually been difficult but a really beautiful combination where we learn from each other and grow in those areas,” Janczyk said.
While Tyler attends undergrad in Scranton and works multiple jobs, Janczyk is finishing up her graduate degree while also working full time. The business of their schedules along with their personal communication styles requires the patience, respect, and understanding of both parties.
“It’s really hard to see each other so we consistently have the same recurring discussion about how we make it work,” Janczyk said. “I will say that while it’s not resolved, it’s definitely gotten better. Through time we learned how to see from each other’s perspectives and over the past year I’ve seen significant growth.”
While overcoming hurdles of differences and distance, Janczyk values the enduring strength of her relationship.
A metaphor that has encouraged her over the years compares a relationship to a plant. “It needs the sunshine and the rain. If you have too much sunshine, it’s going to dry up. You also need rain, but too much rain is going to drown it out. You need to have those fun times when you enjoy each other, as well as deep talks, and intimacy, and tough discussions.”
Janczyk added, “to have that balance is super important, where you both can find ways to enjoy the sunshine of your relationship and also embrace the rainy parts. You need both in order to have growth, you can’t stick on either end too long.”
A piece of advice Janczyk offers to students, whether single or dating is prayer. “Absolutely pray for one another. Inviting the Lord into your relationship is crucial.”
Though Janczyk and Tyler’s relationship is not perfect – no relationship is – there are admirable qualities that everyone can learn from. Support, love, and respect should be poured into every relationship we come across – romantic, platonic, or social. With these qualities, we can confront every adversity that may arise.