Back in June, as we were moving out of our house, Will left the back of the moving truck open and got on the interstate. We were lucky not to lose much, but what we did lose was a filing cabinet full of all our important documents – birth certificates, marriage certificate, tax returns, etc.
Will did something very smart in this moment. I was in a separate car, unaware of these events, and he chose not to contact me until he had dealt with the situation. Luckily, Will found the filing cabinet in the middle of a (busy) on ramp having not yet caused injury to anyone. The cabinet fell on its drawers, trapping the documents inside. When my husband called me to tell me what happened, and why he’d be delayed to the storage unit, I was shocked, but relieved.
This could have been the first blow out fight of our trip. Let’s be honest, I could have freaked out when I heard about the moving truck incident. I did get mildly worked up when I first heard the story (who wouldn’t.) But while Will was still talking, I had this very clear moment – what kind of wife did I want to be? How did I want to start this trip? Whether or not this results in additional tension is completely up to me – and I could choose whether to be frustrated or generous about it. On this, the first day of our trip, I would get to set the tone for how we would handle obstacles together. I stopped at a gas station and got Will some food and water for when we met up at the storage unit. He had been moving boxes all day and was tired, hungry, and dehydrated. He needed a little love.
On the same page
Some friends and family have asked us about the trip and our marriage. The questions and comments fall into two categories: “what a wonderful way to start your marriage!” and “do you think you’ll be speaking to each other when you get back?” I don’t know what the secrets are to nomadic marital bliss, but based on the past three weeks, I’d bet that generosity is one of them.
Will is also very generous with me. I get what Will refers to as “grumpy” sometimes during our travels. “Grumpy” can be defined as a complete loss of patience for anything and anyone. We have already almost missed an early morning flight, suffered altitude sickness, and have started editing each other’s blog posts – all of which have caused some grumpiness. When we almost missed our early morning flight to Salt Lake City – anticipating the effects – Will got me a caffeinated drink even though I said I didn’t want it, and gently encouraged me to drink it throughout the flight. He was right. I really needed that caffeine. Will is never harsh with me when I lose my patience. He knows it’s usually hunger, dehydration, or lack of caffeine that is the cause. He just puts his arm around me, kisses me on the head, and tells me what we’re going to do when I’m not grumpy anymore. He makes a decision not to turn those moments into more tension, but meets them with generosity.
Not on the same page
There will be more significant trials in the future. We may get sick at the same time, or miss our transportation, or disagree about the direction we need to go. We are also blogging together, which adds another layer of joint decision making. The next year will be a constant exercise in getting on the same page.
All that aside, travel will transform us in wonderful ways – and the great gift of travelling as a couple is sharing that transformation with each other. I wouldn’t want to do this trip without Will. I look forward to the many memories we’ll be able to share for a lifetime – even if there are a few epic fights scattered in there. In fact, we will be stronger for them.
I’m convinced generosity will help us grow closer through this experience and prevent travel problems from becoming relationship problems. I’m also convinced it’s not the only ingredient for success. We will keep you posted as the recipe for this nomadic marriage unfolds…and our ears are open to lessons others have learned about relationships on the road.