Moving to another country for long periods of time with a partner really accelerates a relationship. Which makes sense right, you both are removed from all your supports of home with a lot of emphasis on each other. So, when the only available hotel in town is explaining they have given your room away and you need to leave in the next hour (a real situation from my life) you are able to pull together as opposed to pull away from each other. Here are 7 tips for keeping a relationship healthy during the challenges that travel can bring.
- Talk it out- stay connected- honest, open communication is always a good way to stay connected.
The more you connect with each other the closer you will be. When you start pulling away from communicating your thoughts and feeling you will feel the difference. If you feel the urge to hold back information with your partner, ask yourself why you feel that way. Is it something from your past reminding you not to get hurt or do the dynamics of your relationship discourage talking about certain topics? Either way there is something you can do to improve the situation.
- Take breaks when needed- When you are talking about something and you begin to feel angry or notice the conversation is not helpful, take a break. Go somewhere you can have a few moments alone to relax and reflect on what it is bothering you. Explore different ways how you would prefer to handle it in the future. For example, if you return home from the market to find dishes in the sink,
you start yelling at your partner about how lazy they are. After stepping away you realize that you were starting to feel frustrated at the market when you could not find everything you were looking for and after walking a mile back to the house you were exhausted which really led you to be upset, not the dishes as you had previously thought.
- Make dates- you allocated time in your day for all types of things why not to spend quality time with each other? Set aside some time for date night. That means no matter what you guys have going on you know that time is just for you all to get some quality time in. This is a great time to make a list of the things you both want to see and do in the city you are currently living in then start planning your dates around these activities. It gives you things to look forward to and the time to spend with your partner.
- Don’t lose yourself- it is very easy to lose yourself in a relationship while in your home country and even easier to do it while traveling. Make sure you are still exploring the things you enjoy. Desire is
created from wanting something. It is easy to lose the desire of wanting someone when you spend all your time with this person. Keeping your hobbies and own identity helps you feel more secure and fulfilled in who you are, but it also helps keep the desire alive in your relationship.
- Encourage each other’s goals-a big part of being in a healthy relationship is supporting each other’s goals. If your partner is working overtime to get that promotion they have been asking from their boss for months, then support them by making them dinner while they work. Don’t add to the stress by making your partner decide between you and their work. This is where having schedule dates comes in handy. You have planned to spend quality time with your partner throughout the week so you both know what time is available and when. A helpful tool; my partner and I use a Google shared calendar in order to help keep things organized. He can see my availability if he wants to plan a surprise date or if he is thinking about trying the taco stand on the corner that I have mentioned numerous times I am not interested in eating at.
- Identify each other’s strengths and utilize them- We all have strengths and weaknesses, this is another area that introspection is going to be important for knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are. Identify what areas you’re good at and enjoy working in. Identify areas you struggle in or find yourself putting at the bottom of your to-do list any time it comes across your desk. There are a lot of tasks when it comes to traveling. You need to be organized on where your headed, how you’re getting there, where you will get your money, if there are any deals, etc. This can all happen very quickly as well, one of the many perks of being transit. If you are great with the organization then perhaps your duties would include packing, planning the route you all will take, and obtaining official documents you need in your travels (believe me there will be many!). If your partner is great with finances perhaps their duties would include identifying how you will withdraw cash in the country your traveling in without fees, researching reasonable prices for places to rent in the area you are moving to or saving extra cash to make that weekend getaway to the islands possible. It helps to pull from each other’s strengths when you know them. Just because something is your strength or perhaps in your area doesn’t mean that the responsibility rest solely on you, this is a team effort.
- Know when to apologies- some people see an apology is admitting you were wrong, but it isn’t always the case. An apology is acknowledging your partner’s feelings, validating that what the feel is real and understandable. Everyone wants to be heard especially in relationships. It might not make sense to you why your partner is upset but listening to them can help you better understand.
Disagreements are inevitable in any relationship but finding a healthy way to talk through the disagreements is possible. Abstain from calling each other names, it is impossible to take those things back. Ask yourself what would I like to see come from this disagreement? Then work from there. If you want to see a change being implemented in your relationship discuss with your partner on how you would like to see it done and suggest different ways of getting there. Remember you and your partner are constantly changing so if you agree on handling certain situations one way, but find it is no longer working for you then don’t be afraid to talk to your partner again about a different approach. It is common to change your mind or grow to enjoy something else.
Traveling is exciting and it can be even more special with your partner. Just like most things in life it is helpful to prepare yourself and be mindful in the process. Hopefully, these 7 tips can help not only strengthen your relationship but also better your traveling experience. After all, you both deserve to be living happy, healthy lives.