The best way to exercise your coordination, communication skills and harmony in marriage is to travel together. I recommend it to help you couples “adjust” to married life. I believe that trips are like real-life laboratory to gives us a picture of how we are reared in terms of our family backgrounds and how to deal with it. I have discovered so many things about my husband and myself; every time we are on a trip I learn more and more how to make our marriage better and sweeter. Trips have helped our marriage a whole lot.
You will discover you are both uniquely different. This is not surprising to many but some of us don’t know how to deal with our differences that our instinct is to try to “change our spouse” to the way we want them to be. We start to compare how our family does things and they too will showcase what their family would do on certain circumstances. But instead of getting irritated with each other, learn to celebrate your differences and work on each of your gifting.
In our case, we like to travel light. Our target for a 1-week vacation with 2 adults and 4 kids is to carry only 2 luggages. Therefore, if that is to happen, you will have to leave the art of “master-packing” to me. John can pack but I can guarantee I can put more things in a bag without a sweat. Every way to fold and insert clothes and items can be well fit in a bag. But no one can find the best deals on almost anything but my husband. He is amazing at getting bargains and discovering the sites and attraction of certain location. I must admit it saves us time and money if I give him the full hand on this department. I on the other hand, discovered that I have the gift of direction, starting a conversation with strangers and learning how to use public transportation in each city/country we are in. So knowing our gifting has prepared us for the travel ahead. We feel like we are a super team.
But not everything comes in a perfect package. That’s why how you respond to the situations that you may stumble upon is critical. I believe that certain “tensions” in travel is a good practice on how we can manage crisis even in marriage. For instance John’s weak point is scheduling. He has the tendencies to overlap schedule and misread the time written on the ticket because of the change time zones. We were once in LA when we thought our flight was 12noon the next day. So we spent the whole day roaming around enjoying our last day in LA and decided we will do our packing that evening. Lo and behold, our flight was 12 midnight of that day and we only discovered it after trying to do a web check in after dinner like around 830pm. It was stressful but more of hilarious. We were like headless chicken trying to leave the house that very minute. But since we exercise our gifting – we managed to get to the airport in one piece and not ARGUING We also had another occasion that we were so tired from a long flight from New York that we napped in the front row seats of the waiting area of our gate during the layover. When we woke up, we saw the door of our plane close and the ground stewardess in the gate counter packing up. We rushed instantly informing them that we are part of that flight. They said they were walking around with a placard informing of the last call for that flight. Hello! Since our eyes were shut – we of course did not see it! They did not even ring a bell or call out. This gets even better, to top it all, we had to pay 300 dollars to book ourselves on the next flight which was the next day! It’s so easy to get angry in situations like this but my husband showed calmness and coolness that I did not have. He paid for the amount and he said we have an option to get a hotel or sleep in Hong Kong (HK) Airport. We decided since our flight was early the next day it was wise to just hang around HK Airport. Honestly, looking back it was one of the most romantic times we had. We had enough time to have a heart talk and because he was very “chill” – we enjoyed discovering what it was like to stay overnight in the airport.
Traveling is teaching me to grow in deep friendship with my spouse. When we travel, I get to know my husband better. My husband is a gadget guy and that would mean to naturally go to gadget stores. But he can be in that place DAILY as long as it we are in that city. I enjoy watching my husband be like a child again. Since this is his joy I don’t mind walking with him daily to let him check out those stores. On the other hand, I may not shop but I am willing to pay for the experience. I like shows, museums and the arts. But museum is really something that my husband can die in. He has literally slept and snored in a holocaust museum while I was moved to tears. But because he knows that it is important for my creative juices, he would accompany me and I know he does that out of pure love. So our friendship has really blossomed and gone deeper. When we travel, we love to do long walks holding hands and just appreciating each other. I love taking this journey of life with my husband because God has allowed him to be my best friend.
Just like any adventure, be prepared for anything. I have learned that when we are more open to adjusting and welcoming new things, we discover the best things about each other. Just on this trip to Australia, my husband and our friend were insistent that we see the 12 Apostles sight, which was a 3 hours trip from Melbourne to Victoria. In the beginning I was not as interested. I found the tour pricey and was willing to just go to the museum instead. But my husband wanted me to be in that trip that he decided to rent a car to drive so that we could save money and still see it. You may think that was easy but driving a right hand drive car is not easy. So I knew this was important for him. I thank God, I was open and not selfish because it was one of the best sights I have ever seen. Those sights simply took my breath away. In fact its really indescribable, you have to be there to be in awe in its wonders. Life is also the same, if we are open to positively receive the circumstances we are in, greater thing are discovered. In marriage as you are submitting to your husband’s leadership you will be blessed.
So when things seem dry in your marriage I encourage you to take a trip. You don’t need to go out of the country to make a marriage meaningful. It’s the action of doing something to enrich your marriage that counts. If you take the time, you will discover how amazing your spouse is and ultimately, how amazing God is and his promises for our marriage are exciting, fresh and one of the best adventures in this life.