How Well Do You Travel Together?

Our guest post comes from Elva Anson, M.A., MFT. Elva ┬áis the author of the blog “Relationship the Therapeutic Process” at www.soulmatetips.blogspot.com

She is also the author of the book, “Becoming Soul Mates–How to “Create the Lifelong Relationship You Always Dreamed Of”

photo courtesy of Elva Anson

How Well Do You Travel Together?

The only time some couples get along well is on their get-aways. For others traveling together goes downhill the minute they start talking about it. What about you?

If you don’t travel well together, you miss some of your greatest opportunities to enrich your relationship. Instead of avoiding travel, why not work on the source of the conflict?

Here’s how. Diagnose the problem. Each of you make a list of the usual conflicts staying away from blame or “you always” labels. Here are some possible conflicts:

—–One packs like they are never coming back. The other sticks to basics, taking as little as possible.

—–One likes to go to exciting places offering many kinds of activities. The other seeks solitude and a place to reflect, read, and relax.

—–One likes the ocean. The other likes the mountains.

—–One or both dislike the other’s driving and continually direct or complain.

—–One is a planner,. the other spontaneous.

—–One complains that they have to do all of the planning and the work. The other is passive and never volunteers to participate in the planning.

After identifying the problems, choose one to try to resolve. Brainstorm possible solutions. Pick a solution you both can accept. Try it out on a short trip. Come home and evaluate.

Here are some examples. If you don’t like the way the other person drives, try to figure out what you can ask him/her to do that would help you relax. For example, “When you follow close to another car, I get tense. Would you be willing to keep two car lengths space behind other cars?” The other person resists defending by saying, “But I do keep enough space.” When he/she agrees to honor the request, don’t monitor every second. When he remembers, say something like, “That really helps. Thank you.” When he doesn’t remember, close your eyes and tell yourself he is improving. The payoff in terms of a good time can make granting such a request worthwhile.

If one likes the ocean and the other likes the mountains, taking turns will help both of you expand your interests and give you an opportunity to give to each other as well.

If you are the one who makes the reservations and does most of the planning, ask yourself if you are the one who probably is better at doing that. One year I insisted that my husband make the airline reservations to Hawaii. When I saw the tickets I was horrified to see that they were to Hilo instead of Kona. It cost several hundred dollars to change them. I realized that he does many things better than I do, but that wasn’t one of them. We work well together when I let him do what he is good at and I do what I am good at.

By working to resolve the conflicts you will increase your chance of having fun together. Neither of you will get what you want all of the time. Both of you will get what you want some of the time plus the joy of seeing your mate happy.