6 Tips to Thrive as a Couple When Traveling (+ pics from our trips!)
Travel season is upon us! Although many people fantasize about a trip filled with laughter, deep connection, luxurious days just to delight in each other’s company, catching up on each other’s lives, and reigniting passion, research shows that many people get more benefit out of looking forward to the vacation (i.e. expected enjoyment) or reflecting on it afterwards (ex: some things that are difficult in the moment can make for really good stories afterwards!) than they do during the trip itself.
Turns out, for a lot of couples, traveling can be stressful. Romanticized vacations can turn into power struggles. All the quiet time can stir up challenges that have been hanging out just beneath the surface in your otherwise full and busy lives. Couples can start to get on each other’s nerves. Or couples spend a lot of time together but still don’t leave feeling as connected as they’d hoped.
Over the past 14 years, we’ve been on a lot of trips together and have learned so much along the way! If any of the above sounds familiar, or if you simply want to create getaways that truly nurture your love, we encourage you to try out these 6 tried and true tips to thrive as a couple while traveling! They will work whether you are with the whole family or if you’ve carved out some special time just for the two of you.
(1) Be clear about what you each want to get out of the experience.
While you are on your way to your destination, have a conversation about what you each want to experience during your time together. Sometimes, people can feel dissatisfied at the end of a trip because they didn’t know what their partner was wanting and/or because they didn’t even know what they really wanted.
The clearer we can be about what we want to experience in life, the higher our chances are of experiencing it. This doesn’t need to be specific (ex: I want to go visit that certain waterfall) and can instead be general (ex: I want to laugh lots together).
Then, be sure to take personal responsibility for helping to create whatever you want to get out of your travels. And really be intentional about helping your beloved receive whatever they most desire. Co-create a trip that fulfills and delights you both!
(2) Take turns leading.
This is one we love doing! When we travel, we often switch back and forth each day with who gets to be the leader. We find that when the other leads, we enjoy so many things we otherwise wouldn’t have and it adds a whole new and wonderful element to the adventure!
This is important for your relationship for so many reasons, especially:
- to make sure both of your voices, opinions, and perspectives are equally valued in your partnership
- to ensure your relationship and life together reflect both of you, not just one of you
- and to make it possible for both of you to have an opportunity to relax and receive and be led by the other.
An *essential* aspect to doing this: when one person is the leader, the other person focuses on being encouraging, positive, and appreciative!
(3) Go on a little individual adventure so you have wonderful experiences to share when you reunite.
If you only have a weekend getaway together, this one might not fit. However, if you’re on vacation for several days, we highly recommend giving it a try! In long-term love, one of the reasons that passion fades over time is because we start to lose our individuality (i.e. we become more and more enmeshed and don’t know where one of us ends and the other begins). Togetherness and connection are so very important. It is essential to also maintain our sense of self!
When you go off on your little solo adventures, you have an opportunity to miss each other, to reunite, and then to tell stories of the times you had when apart. This mimics how it used to be when you first started dating! It was your beloved’s uniqueness and that touch of mystery that kept things exciting and alluring.
(4) Choose laughter over stress.
This one is simple. During travels, there are countless moments when you could choose to either get stressed over something or simply to laugh about it. And, yes, it is a choice. Remember you are on this trip to enjoy life together – save your stress for the really big things in life and remember that 85%+ of life is how we respond to it, not what happens.
(5) Spend most of your time focusing on the positive.
We realize your life is full, and this may be the first time you’ve had in months to really process things going on in your relationship that need to be addressed. We just want to assure you that all relationship problems are resolved so much more quickly and easily when you are in a good and connected place together. Be sure to spend less than 20% of your time processing your relationship and at least 80% of your time nurturing your relationship (appreciating each other, snuggling, laughing together, doing thoughtful things for each other, etc.).
(5) Scan each day for all its blessings.
You could be having the most amazing trip and not even realize it. We need to actually register something as a positive experience in order for it to soak in. Otherwise, all the wonderful experiences will just pass right on by.
At the end of each day, review the day together and reflect on all the positive experiences you shared, reliving them, appreciating them, and wiring them all in!
If you have a pattern of getaways turning sour and want to fully set yourselves up for joyous success, we’d love to help you create a breakthrough! Learn more about our coaching and counseling HERE, and sign up for a FREE 20-minute consultation at anytime right HERE.
Also, be sure to save the date for our next Thrive in Love couples retreat happening the weekend of September 30-October 1 in Bloomington, IN. It is one weekend getaway guaranteed to reignite love, connection, and joy and take your love to the next level! You can register anytime for that and learn more HERE.
Wherever this spring and summer take you, may your adventures be filled with moments that relax, renew, inspire, uplift, and connect you!
Abundant Love and Joy,