According to marriage research, travel has the power to deepen your relationship and also help you fall in love all over again with your partner. However, travel usually mimics the communication that already exists between partners in their day-to-day life. So, if you’re one of those couples who loves to argue or insists on being right, it’s wise to prepare in advance. The key to experiencing a closer connection instead of war of the roses is in wanting your trip to bring you closer together rather than further apart and being willing to change parts of yourself in order to please your partner.
Remembering and practicing some key lessons has helped my husband and me travel the world together. It’s also enriched the couples I work with. Embrace the unexpected events and minimize the frustrating parts of your journey and you’ll understand more clearly why you choose to travel through life with your travel companion at your side.
Talk about the trip. What are your expectations as a couple, and discuss any hidden agenda. Couples take trips for different reasons and plan destinations for all sorts of reasons. One of the main complaints I hear from couples who didn’t enjoy their trip was a hidden agenda not discussed by one of the partners. If you are planning on meeting up with an old friend(s) or family you should discuss it with your partner before you go. Sometimes “surprises” end up being vacation breakers.
Be sure to check with your destination to make sure your plans are still their plans. If you’re planning a special anniversary or birthday trip make sure the hotel doesn’t move you from your booked deluxe room to a standard double bedroom. A mistake like this can make your partner feel devalued or question your intention for the trip.
Work together to understand each other’s weaknesses as well as strengths. If your partner is great with a map and sense of direction then don’t try to invade their territory—even if you think you know where you’re going. When couples use each other’s strengths they complement one another. When they use a vacation to try and teach or lecture a partner who is weak in a particular area they end up fighting and feeling less connected than ever before.
Enjoy and schedule alone time. Most couples aren’t together 24 hours a day in their daily life, which is part of the reason you have to plan for small mental escapes or time alone. You may have interests your partner doesn’t. Engaging in your alone time helps you refuel and appreciate your partner when you meet for dinner.
Take time to play. Vacations are stressful at times, and moodiness can set in. Plan to have time to goof off. Tell jokes, make fun, be each other’s cheerleader. Remind yourself how grateful you are to experience this vacation together.
Build a memory. It goes without saying no matter how good or bad a vacation is, if you take the journey together you will have numerous moments of hilarious and interesting memories. Everyone takes their partner for granted to a certain extent, but during times of crisis the memories of a vacation help sustain you.
Your marriage is your story and no matter how that story reads, taking a vacation together adds many fun-filled, novel experiences that the two of you will reflect on for years after. Your marriage deserves a vacation.