3 Tips for Staying Married on the Road
We’ve covered some ground since we last blogged. Sorry for the delay in writing. We have been busy living into new routines and life on the road. Telling the story of your life as you are living it is more challenging than I thought. We have certainly thought about all of you along the way and are so thankful that you are joining us.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve already been on the road for a month and a half. If I had to describe our last several weeks in two words it would be adjustment period. There has been a pretty big learning curve for many aspects of our lives since January 2nd. Learning the routine of travel, how to set up, how long to stay at each destination, how to make reservations on the fly, how to balance a new lifestyle with a new job, and last but not least, learning how to spend 24/7 with your spouse.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’d like to share with you some tips for how to stay married while traveling.
Tip #1 – Compromise Is Better than Winning
The last time we spoke, we had picked up our camper in Lake City, FL, and started making our way west. Cary and I decided to stay one night in New Orleans to see as much of the city as possible before heading out the next morning for Texas. Arriving at the RV park early, we had plenty of time for a full day of exploring. However, not long after parking, I heard Cary say, “Hey Chris, can you come look at something?” Having just picked up our camper from the repair shop, there was no way his question could possibly pertain to another thing wrong, right? As it turns out, Camping World drained our hot water heater during the slide repair, failing to turn the power supply off beforehand, which killed the heating element. [big sigh]
There’s something about pulling into a new city that lights a fire of excitement in me. My mind was reeling with all the sights to see, jambalaya to eat, and music to hear. So, of all the things I wanted to do, repairing the camper was not on my list.
While I’m not a mind reader, I was pretty certain in that moment Cary wasn’t dreaming of those same things. He wanted a hot shower and a camper that wasn’t broken. So off to Home Depot we went. An hour or so later, we still had not fixed the problem. I really wanted to draw a line in the sand and say we’ve done enough, now let’s go play. But something in me said that wasn’t the best option. So I suggested we give the repairs another hour, and then if it wasn’t fixed, we deal with it another day. Cary agreed. We had found middle ground and were able to approach the repairs with fresh eyes the next day.
#2 Have Patience with Your Partner
I read this week that people have the least amount of patience with those closest to them. I know I’ve been guilty of that over the last month and a half. When living in a home on wheels, a nice level parking spot provides the ideal setup situation. Our current spot is on a gorgeous natural cul-de-sac encased by trees. However, it is in no way level.
We noticed the front to back slope on arrival and accounted for the slope by placing extra boards under the front jacks. Thinking all was well, we proceeded to go through the routine of disconnecting the truck, opening slides, and leveling the camper. It was then that we noticed there was just enough slope from left to right to take one set of tires completely off the ground.
The two-year old inside of me was throwing a tantrum. How could we have missed that? I don’t want to pull the slides back in, reconnect the truck, and re-do everything! Are you sure this won’t work? Cary is of the opposite camp. We keep at it until it’s right, which isn’t always easy for me to get behind. The truth is, these moments aren’t my best moments, but they are teaching me to extend grace to my spouse and to myself. In the end, we hooked the camper back up and leveled it properly.
#3 Learn to Appreciate the Everyday Things
Life on the road requires sharing various tasks and responsibilities. That’s true of life in a brick and mortar home as well. However, tasks on the road are just different. Cary and I have tried to learn how to do everything required on the road. Having said that, Cary typically is the one to drive (although my turn is coming soon), finish outside setup, repair broken things, and empty/clean the tanks. I typically do inside setup, meal planning, cleaning, and budgeting/finances.
I’ve always believed that we were stronger together as a team. Our individual strengths balance out the weaknesses. We both have learned to appreciate the efforts that the other contributes and we thank each other often. So when Cary volunteered to do the grocery shopping this week, I was incredibly grateful and told him so. Recognition feels good and demonstrates gratitude.
When Cary and I met, I immediately noticed how compatible our personalities were. I had a deep respect for his values, his relationship with family, his compassion for others, and of course his charming ways and handsomeness. The first year or two, it seemed as though we were so similar. Over time, as we have grown to see and understand the depths of our personalities, I have realized that below the surface we have unique differences. Those differences manifest themselves especially in challenging situations. Respecting someone on a surface level is a wonderful thing, but maintaining and growing that respect as you begin to know the deepest parts of a person is a hard-earned treasure. These days on the road have challenged our marriage, and in the process, I see glimpses of a deeper, stronger love growing. I love you Cary Graham, and there is no one else I’d rather adventure with!
Happy Valentine’s Day!