About getting along

(This article is part of a series called:  Checking in at 6 months.)

What has it been like to travel together as a couple, attached at the hip 24/7 for 180 days?  To my great surprise, it hasn’t been all that bad. That probably sounds worse than intended, but honestly, I was a little worried about this when we began.  Let’s face it, this amount of physical proximity is going to challenge any couple and I wasn’t quite sure how we were going to handle it.

Chris and I are very compatible companions which certainly goes a long way towards travelling harmoniously.  We have been together for almost 14 years (currently enjoying our 10th year of marriage) so we’ve had lots of time to work out the kinks in our relationship. Add to that, we began in a good place as a couple, brought more closely together through the many challenges we faced preparing for this journey.  So we started off great and it was pretty smooth sailing throughout Ecuador, but things got a little intense around Peru/Bolivia and then we got straightened out again in Chile and it’s been great ever since.

The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter how well you get along, eventually you are going to get on each other’s nerves, or you’re going to say or do something that upsets your partner, or you’re going to jump to wrong conclusions.  And I think the more time you spend together, you just have more opportunity to piss each other off.  So it’s not a question of always getting along, I think the more important question is how do you resolve conflict when it arises.  It is in this area that I’ve noticed the biggest change in how we relate to each other.

First of all, it’s apparent right away when one of us is upset about something.  It’s not like we can go off to work and brood over things for a while without our spouse even cluing in that something is wrong.  No, we notice pretty much right away when things are amiss and we’re highly motivated to address it because, let’s face it, it’s just not very fun when one of us is mad or upset about something.

We have both learned a lot about each other and ourselves during the past six months travelling together.  A new softness and tolerance has developed between us, especially when things go wrong as they often do.  We are both quicker to apologize these days, to accept more readily when we’re to blame.  I have made so many mistakes during the past six months, usually stupid little things and often due to absentmindedness (I never knew I was so easily distracted!), that I’m becoming more accepting of my own humanness and this in turn makes it easier to accept when Chris makes mistakes as he invariably does his fair share too.

Somewhere along the way, we started to laugh together, real hearty belly laughs, the way we used to when we were first dating.  I had forgotten how funny we can be together.  Something quite strange and wonderful has happened in these first six months – I feel like we have rediscovered each other and we’ve returned to those lovely days of courtship when you love everything about the person and you’re blind to their faults.  Only this is better, we know intimately each other’s weaknesses and faults, yet the love and bond we feel is so much richer and deeper.

I think travelling long term together has brought out the best in us as individuals and as a couple.  And I think this has been the best part of travelling so far.  [read more]


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