Disclaimer: I’ve been married to J for 603 days. That does not mean that I believe myself to be anything of an expert (or even especially competent at) marriage, relationships, romance, or getting along well with others. So please note the wording of the title (and how it differs from blog titles of young & smug marrieds): Why travelling with MY husband is good for OUR marriage, Not:
-Why Travelling is good for ALL Marriages
-Divorce-Proof your Marriage: Travel!
-Get on a Plane and be Happy like Me!
So, please take anything in this post that seems like advice as merely a sharing of my 603 days of experience!
Since J and I began seeing each other, I wouldn’t say that we travelled extensively.* But this is where we divert all of our disposable income and for the past 2 years, every available day of vacation time has been spent overseas. We may not be globetrotters, but we love to travel and I feel like it has helped J and I maintain the sickeningly cute honeymoon phase for nigh these 603 days. Not just because vacations are fun, and happy people get along better, but it has helped keep us on track in some very real and meaningful ways:
*looking for more travel? Check out my good friends blog HighClassHobo for awesome travel adventures!
1.No Cell Phones
No work emails, no texting, no Facebook/ Pinterest/ Snapchat/ TSN/ Sportsnet Updates/ Hockey Blogs.
This is a big advantage of travelling, but is also easily achieved without even leaving home. Being present and aware and 100% involved, whether it be by making a “No Cell Phones during Dinner” rule or by being too cheap to buy an overseas phone plan, Either way, having this time to connect and rely only on each other for conversation allows J and I to move beyond “people, places and events” conversations and move into “ideas, values and theories” ones.
You know the part in “Love Actually” when Hugh Grant waxes poetic about the Heathrow Airport arrival gates being the place to restore your faith in humanity? Guess where the opposite sentiments manifest? Arrival departure gates (including security and check in, of course).
Between the waiting, the lines, the arbitrary rules, and the speed with which those rules change, airports are basically the 10th circle of hell. Everyone is in a cutthroat hurry and out for themselves. It’s like every flight only has one seat left and the first person in line gets it.
Under normal circumstances, J and I rarely fight. We have no reason to: No kids, only moderately stressful jobs, we live well within our financial means, and have personalities that predispose us to compromise and conflict resolution. But, to really know someone, you have to see them at their worst. And everyone, even the mild-mannered J, is at their very worst at the departure gate. You also need to fight with this worst case scenario version of each other, and resolve it in less than ideal circumstances.
And so, we do, At the airport.
J has actual nightmares about missing planes. Ones where usually its my fault that we miss the flight. It’s his #1 fear. So he is an absolute joy in airports. He’s stressed, worried, flustered, and sometimes (usually) bossy. He insists on being at the airport at least 2 days before our flight, and if you think a hand cast is any excuse for holding up production, think again.
Once we legitimately almost missed a flight, and now we have to pack only carry on luggage and live at the airport a week prior to flying.
Not that I’m any better. I hate flying. I get irrational and terrified, threatening the livelihoods of everyone from the coffee cart barista to the pilots if I feel as though my concerns are not being heard. I ask J questions that he couldn’t possibly answer, like “Why is the flight delayed?” “What’s that noise?” “When will this line move?”.
I’m a treat.
My point is, if that is as bad as it gets, if we can bicker and sarcastically snap at each other all through security, and then cuddle and share a bag of MnMs on the plane, then I think that’s not so bad.
3. Sharing a Path
Being 2 independent people with friends and jobs and separate interests in a life-long relationship is a constant balancing act. One has to constantly straddle the line between 2 equally distasteful camps:
a) Being a “we” too often, i.e. “We didn’t love Anchorman 2”, “We had an upset tummy after eating at Sushi2Go”, “We need to remember to get a pap this year”. and
b) Being roommates who get it on.
Trips have a way of restoring the balance when our lives get a little too “column b”. Instead of comparing notes at the end of a long day apart, touching on the highlights and venting about the bad parts, we have the same day, and experience it together. It’s a nice change.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that we have independent, individual lives. Neither of us got married to “share a life” with the other. But on occasion, it’s a nice thing to do, and puts us back in sync with each others intricacies and wavelengths.
4. Leave the comfort zone- Prevent the Rut.
A rolling stone gathers no moss, and, in my opinion, a marriage filled with adventures is rut-proof. Adventures in travel or adventures at home keep us laughing together, keep our adrenaline pumping together and keeps reminding us why we need each other. This spring we’re going to South Africa to Safari and cage dive with Great White sharks, a long time goal of Js. If not for him, I would never sign up for something like that, or go hiking in Iceland, which I truly enjoyed. Without me, J would have never spent 5 beautiful days in Paris, which he loved. Travelling for us allows us to have adventures together outside our comfort zones, and it reminds us that we have so much to offer each other. We’ll have no need to “spice things up” or “get out of a rut” if we never let things get dull.
J and I might never be the type of people who sell everything we own and backpack the world (we’re way too attached to our cat). But we have come to truly enjoy travelling as a pastime, and I believe that it really benefits our marriage.