As a marriage, divorce, and relationship coach, I naturally do a lot of introspection in my own marriage. I love to pick up on things that work between my husband and I and pass on marriage advice and what I learn from my own personal experiences to others.
Recently, my husband and I took a skiing vacation to Mont Tremblant, Quebec. It was a wonderful, much-needed getaway. It also taught me some interesting things about our relationship that I plan to use to make our next vacation even better.
What did I learn?
We need love refills. During our long, 7-hour drive to Mont Tremblant from New York, we had to stop to refill our gas tank. As my husband was filling up, I had a revelation. I realized that we all need consistent reminders from one another as to why we are important and appreciated: love refills! Saying it once and never saying it again just doesn’t suffice.
So when my husband returned to the car, I shared my thought with him and said, “Even if one were to own the most perfect car and at its first use fill up on gas and be good to go, that perfect car needs consistent refills to keep going. It’s the same for all humans. We need consistent reminders and expressions from our significant others as to what we mean to them.”
Sometimes during a couple session, a spouse might say, “Why do I need to express love and appreciation daily? My spouse already knows I love him/her.” Now I have an answer I hope people will be able to relate to more: we are like gas tanks. Love and appreciation fuels the relationship and keeps the ride going smoothly.
Black ice. As we neared our destination, it was already dark and we encountered extremely frigid weather along with a mix of rain and snow. The roads were very slippery. Suddenly, our car veered dangerously into oncoming traffic. We must have hit some black ice. Luckily, my husband was able to quickly jolt us back to our lane and a crisis was averted.
But our run-in with a slippery patch of ice made me realize that all of us have “black ice” in our relationships. We hit these icy patches that cause us to veer off the path of a loving and caring relationship. And while it can feel scary in the moment, all we need to do is a quick assessment and steer right back on track!
Tolerance. As I was checking my emails, I realized I made a huge error! I had an email from Expedia alerting me to a schedule change for an upcoming flight. We were due to drive back to New York and then catch a plane mid-week for a family wedding, but I had booked the wrong dates. While my husband was off skiing, I quickly called Expedia to make the necessary change for the reservation. On top of being annoyed at myself for this careless error, I felt silly having to tell my husband, and I felt badly for the additional costs we would have to pay. To make matters even worse, I also had to wait over an hour for customer service to finally take my call!
As I was beginning to speak to one of the representatives, in walked my husband. He was beaming from a great skiing experience. I obviously didn’t look as jolly, and my husband immediately asked if everything was okay. I put the Expedia representative on hold and told him what happened. My husband simply said “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Mistakes happen. Do what you need to do!” What a relief!
In spite of the fact that the change cost an additional $300, my husband was tolerant, didn’t berate me, and accepted the situation for what it was – simple human error. Ultimately, I learned that tolerance for each other’s errors is crucial in marriage because it maintains respect and stability!
Time alone… together. This one is obvious. Just having the time to spend a vacation together without the daily grind and routine truly does wonders. We had time to talk without interruptions. We had time to discuss important things on our minds. And we had time to truly be focused on one another for an entire week, which is a reboot worth investing in!
I realize that many couples find it difficult to take a vacation due to babysitting issues, financial constraints, and getting time off of work, but it’s worth figuring out how to make a getaway happen – even if it’s just for 2 or 3 days. Getting to spend some time away together really keeps the bond and spark alive in a marriage.
Stay tuned to find out the rest of what I learned on my vacation in Part 2 next week!
Rooting for you!