You’ve just popped The Question. You’ve just answered the Question. The answer was “Yes!”
The next logical step in any relationship isn’t to start planning a wedding. This is a common mistake. The next step is to take a trip together.
If you’ve already traveled together you’re ahead of the game, but getting engaged changes things.
It forces you to examine all the details of a relationship. You may panic when you realize there is a world of information you don’t know about the person you’ve just verbally committed to for the rest of your life.
Traveling together will present you both with a multitude of challenges all in one short burst – if you’re truly committed you’ll survive all these tests of faith. Here are some tips to get to the end of the trip still want to get married afterwards.
We’re Talking Real Travel
First things first, this article doesn’t apply to couples who are traveling to an all-inclusive resort where you sit on the beach, swipe your room key and pina coladas or chocolate covered strawberries magically appear.
All you learn at the end of that sort of trip is that it sucks to have to go back to your normal life.
While I concede that it can be frustrating when your fiancé refuses to mix your drinks and serve them to you on a silver platter while you recline in front of the most recent episode of “Deal or No Deal” you didn’t really expect that would happen anyway.
This article applies to people who are traveling to a new city or country, meeting new people, trying out a new language and carrying their own money. This article is for people who want to see how life flows in another part of the world.
Who Is The Boss?
Once you decide to take the trip you are immediately presented with new challenges: packing, airports, who handles the money, who controls the iPod, who leads and who follows. It is important to talk beforehand about important issues:
What is our budget on this trip? Who will hold the money/passports/important documents? What will we do if we get separated?
Determining these things beforehand will prevent you from getting into arguments in the heat of the moment. Avoiding the need to place blame later will help you stay more relaxed together while traveling.
It will also make it easier to adjust to new situations as they arise because you won’t be pondering other basics in the back of your mind. Things like packing or programming the iPod or deciding who gets to sit in the aisle seat on the plane don’t matter enough to change the tone of your trip.
If you’re a neat packer with clothes folded properly, while you’re partner enjoys throwing clothes from the dryer into a duffel bag this might be a good time to discuss how that difference may affect you both in the future.
Being engaged you might analyze how little things reflect on your partner’s personality. “I can’t marry a messy packer!” you might think. Step back, and decide if this is really something that changes the way you love your partner.
How Can We Work Together As A Team?
Taking turns deciding what to do while traveling allows you to work together to make your trip great, and also forces you to do things you might not have chosen for yourself.
If you want to go to the top of the Empire State building and your fiance wants to take a boat trip around Manhattan, either compromise or figure out a way you can both do what you want. Sometimes giving up autonomous control of decision making is the hardest part of getting married.
Learning to make decisions together on what to do and where to eat can help you make a big adjustment outside the comfortable surroundings of home. Then, when you get home, it is easier to give up a night at the bar to watch Sex and the City or vice versa.
Insert Foot In Mouth
One of the biggest lessons you can learn while traveling together is to take a breath before saying something you know will be the beginning of an argument. If you foresee yourself regretting your next words, then don’t say them.
Instead communicate what is frustrating you and see if you can work together to figure it out. Whether on a bus, train, plane or in a hotel room – any heated exchange or unkind word will hang in the air until you resolve it.
At home you can take off, visit friends, stay at your own place, or occupy yourself with any number of other distractions to avoid dealing with the root of an argument. On the road it’s just the two of you surviving together.
When arguments happen don’t ignore the tension. This an opportunity to figure out how you’ll react together when you are married and life starts coming at you quickly.
Confront the situation. Ask your partner why they are upset or ask them to explain to you what caused them to feel a certain way. You need to understand that no matter how mad you get, the sooner you let it out in the open the sooner you can get back to ballooning over Mayan Ruins or hiking the Grand Canyon.
It’s also important to realize that sometimes people just need to be mad for a while. Remember to follow these steps before getting into an argument:
- Take a breath.
- Don’t say it if it isn’t constructive.
- Confront the situation by asking what the problem is and listening to the answer.
- Resolve the situation.
- Start having fun again.
When Is It OK To Splurge?
No matter how bare-bones your budget, try to splurge a little on something fun once in a while. A fancy dinner, an extra bottle of wine or that souvenir that would look great on a shelf back home will go a long way towards bonding the two of you together.
When you look back you probably won’t remember the exhausting two hour cab ride to the airport or the security check that made you late for a flight, but you will remember eating Thai food by candlelight in that fancy beach front restaurant.
Here are two suggestions regarding splurging:
- If you can’t do it at home then go for it. Don’t regret not doing it later. You won’t be able to take a bicycle ride on the Great Wall of China at home in Ohio.
- If you can do it at home than talk it out and see if it is really important. Just because it is next to the Washington Monument doesn’t mean that it is absolutely imperative to get Starbucks.
The Adventure Of A Lifetime
Traveling together is an adventure. It is an opportunity to learn a lot about each other in a short period of time. More importantly, it is one more way to connect with the person you love and plan to marry.
While a trip doesn’t really determine if the two of you are meant for each other, it can help you realize what things you do well together and what things you’ll need to work on to create a successful and happy relationship.
What are you tips for traveling with a fiance? Share in the comments!