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Episode 10 - Going on a Trip

Traveling together… there is so much to say and I hope we’re able to come back to this topic more over the course of this podcast.

Is this a vacation or a family trip? If it’s a family trip, who is being prioritized? If it’s your spouse, what does your husband need to be supported and what will you need to be able to give that support?  What might come up? What is the goal of the trip?

Asking your brain the right questions can take any trip and evolve it to deliver far more value to your life and your marriage.

If you have an upcoming vacation with your spouse, listen to this one now and maybe even once more before you leave. Enjoy!

00:00 Welcome to the First Year Married Podcast where we get real about building the marriage of your dreams. I'm marriage coach, Kayla Levin, and I take newly married and engaged women from anxious and insecure to confident and connected with practical tips, real-life inspiration and more than a little self-awareness along the way.

00:37 Hey, and welcome back. I'm excited to talk to you about this week's topic. We're going to be talking about traveling together. There's a lot to say, and I'm hoping that we're going to be able to come back to this topic more over the course of this podcast.

00:50 This is going to be more of a very high level overview of traveling together. We are in Florida right now, which is obviously the inspiration for this week's podcast. I was not supposed to be recording here. I was supposed to have lots of podcasts ready to go in the queue, but I've been sick for a couple of weeks. If you can hear my voice, it might sound a little bit different. I finally have my voice back enough to sort of do this. This might be a little bit short and sweet, but I also think it's going to be practical and helpful for you.

01:19 What I want to do is break it down for going on a trip with your spouse. I want to break it down from before the trip, during the trip and after the trip. Again, these are just some ideas and tips that I hope will make it easier for you. Things that I found very helpful, things that have come up from some of the issues that my clients are dealing with.

01:40 Let's start with before the trip. The best piece of advice that I was ever given was to decide for yourself, are you going on a vacation or a family trip. This advice was given to me once I already had kids. Basically, the person was saying to me, "If you're taking your kids with you, it's not a vacation, it's a family trip."

02:00 Even though that sounds really depressing, it actually helped me immensely because it helped me re-frame and think to myself, "Well, okay. Vacation for me has all these connotations from the media and everything of what should a vacation be and I should be super relaxed and get to do whatever I want to do the whole time."

02:18 Once I was no longer pursuing this mythical ideal of a vacation, I was able to realize that there's a lot of reasons for going on a trip that could be a wonderful trip that don't necessarily mean you're going to be relaxing the whole time. Let's break this down whether you have kids or not.

02:34 You want to think to yourself, "Is this a vacation or a family trip?" If it's a family trip, often that means that one of you is going to be prioritized. For visiting my family, then my time with the family tends to be prioritized. If we're visiting his family, obviously his time with the family is being prioritized.

02:49 I'm going to try and be a lot more flexible in a trip where we're visiting his family. It's his opportunity to spend time with them. If it's your spouse, if it's going to be his family, so it's good to take a second to think to yourself like, "What does that person need to feel supported on this trip, and what are you going to need so that you're able to give that support?"

03:09 Maybe you're going to need some time away. Maybe you're going to need to be well rested. Just sort of thinking that through in advanced. It might be that family trips are not complicated in your situation, which is great, don't tell anyone. If they are, then it's really helpful to sort of take a second and think, "Okay. What might support look like in this situation?"

03:28 Maybe it means that I'm really there and I'm helping to sort of make the conversations go well. Maybe it means that I'm just going to be there in case he needs to vent because family dynamics are difficult. Whatever it is, sort of thinking it through before the trip.

03:41 Another piece is thinking about what might come up for you. If you're struggling to deal with a certain aspect of your spouse's personality, chances are that the trip is only going to exacerbate that and bring it more into light. Don't get surprised that if you have a plan everything in advanced husband, he's not going to suddenly want to throw the entire schedule out the window.

04:06 You want to take a second to consider the advantages to whatever the personality differences that you have with your spouse. Let's say he is the planning type. Well, if you take a second and think about instead of just being annoyed on the trip that he doesn't want to be more spontaneous, if you take a second to realize, "Wait, since he's planning that means I get to relax a little bit more because he's going to pay attention to the schedule."

04:29 Or maybe he's less punctual, but actually since he's more laid-back, that means you get to sort of go with the flow a little bit more. Whatever it is about his quirks, sometimes just taking 10 seconds to ask yourself why is this a great thing, how is this quirk actually going to be really helpful for the trip, it just gives your brain an opportunity to start thinking more positively and to give you some evidence that, that's actually going to work for you instead of the opposite where we kind of on default go into this place of like, "Well, he shouldn't be acting like that and he shouldn't be doing that."

05:00 Another thing to think about before the trip is what's the goal. If your trip is about connection, or experience, or seeing family, or relaxation, you clarify the goal, then during the trip itself, you're going to be able to make decisions on the fly. If the two of you are working like crazy and you're super burned out and you go take a trip so that you can unwind, this may not be the time for that once-in-a-lifetime, 12-hour hike that comes up while you're on the trip.

05:27 If you don't think in advance what the point is of the trip, then you would just jump at that opportunity because it comes up, but then you might come home not having sort of gotten the thing that you really needed out of that trip.

05:38 Then the last thing before the trip is to really anticipate the trip. Half the fun of travel is the anticipation of the travel. Without trying your best not to add any musts or shoulds to what the trip needs to look like or things you have to do, staying open but at the same time thinking about all the fun that you're going to have is really half the fun of the whole trip.

06:00 Okay. Here's my ideas for during the trip. The first thing that I want to say is that memories can come from the bad stuff just as well as the good. Meaning, happy memories, fun memories. We personally had a hilariously bad honeymoon. We didn't have any money stored away for our honeymoon and my in-law has very generously gave us their timeshare.

06:21 When we were looking for places that we could go because we were babies and it cost us a ton of money still to rent a car. We were looking for a place. It wasn't driving distance. We wouldn't have to rent a car and we ended up finding this resort that was normally a ski resort, but this was during the summer months and they advertised all sorts of really fun outdoor activities. We thought this would be really great.

06:43 I saw that there was horseback riding, and my heart leapt. I was so excited. I used to horseback ride as a child. Haven't had a chance to do it in many, many years. I was so excited. I said, "That's it. If I could just go horseback riding, I don't really care what else is on the honeymoon, that would be amazing."

07:00 It turned out that it was a really bizarre for a lot of reasons. Nothing was really running normally. It was clearly not a season that they were very optimized for. Then when we finally got to the horseback ride, we weren't allowed to go beyond like five miles an hour. We were in a line and there were horse flies along the trail that were just biting us and we couldn't move fast to get out of their way. We're just sitting there being bait for the horse flies for the entire horseback ride. It was the worst.

07:32 I don't know how we manage during the ride itself, but we have had so many laughs over that honeymoon since it happened. During the trip, just remembering that when things go horribly wrong, those memories can be just as precious to you as the things that go perfectly during the trip.

07:54 Another piece is to remember no blame during the trip. Nobody can plan a perfect trip or a perfect day and you and your husband might not even have that much experience with traveling. While we didn't pretend that we were having a perfect experience on our honeymoon, it also wasn't one of us. It wasn't one of our jobs to create a certain experience. One of us didn't have to feel guilty. We were just kind of going in sort of seeing what would happen and making the best of the situation.

08:22 Now, if it had been because we have been on trips since then where one of us was more taking the lead about the trip, so then the other person really tries to be very sensitive. Because when they're complaining, if the other person has really organized everything and spearheading the whole experience, then it can really come across as criticism when you're complaining.

08:42 It's just another thing to keep in mind. If you think that your spouse really feels responsible for giving you a certain experience, just be careful about your complaints or if you're having a hard time that it doesn't come across as criticism.

08:55 Another one that's key for the wives is to notice what's being provided. As Allison Armstrong says who I quote all the time, men are essentially providers. It could be that the way he's providing for you is by keeping you on schedule. Or is providing by keeping you relaxed so every time you try to stay on schedule he tries to knock you off of it. Or he's showing you something that you never saw or it could be something totally different.

09:22 When you notice what it is that your husband is providing and you really try and appreciate that, it makes a world of a difference. Often, along with that will come a thought like, "Okay, he's providing that he's keeping us on schedule, but I really wish he'd relax and let us slow down a little." What works really well is to just divided it out.

09:43 I'll even explicitly say something like, "I really appreciate how you're helping us get the most out of today. One thing I'd really love would be if that at some point during the day, like maybe sunset, we could really take it slow and just appreciate all being together. Can we get that in there too?" Then all of a sudden, that's something he wants to provide for me also.

10:04 There's a world of a difference between my husband should just slow down and let us enjoy ourselves, which can often be where we go to automatically and let me make sure my husband knows that I'd really like if at some point we could slow down and enjoy ourselves. It's a world of a difference.

10:22 It's also the difference between expecting them to read your mind and actually getting what you want. Now, I'm not saying that anything that you want to do you have to be asking for as if he's going to say yes or no. What I mean is that most men are trying to provide something. They're trying to give you something.

10:40 Instead of just sort of rejecting the whole thing, often when I'm speaking to women about what's going on, they'll acknowledge that they see that he is providing something. They'll be like, "But I just wish he would do this too, but I haven't told him that." Just letting him know in a way that I would really appreciate this also, often that's all that you need to do. It doesn't need to be a fight. It doesn't need to be, "Ugh, I have to just live with his personality or have to just deal with it." It can just be as simple as putting in a request. "Here's something that I'd really like." Then you can have it. It's lovely.

11:12 Okay, finally after the trip. My first piece of advice for after the trip is forget whatever you need to forget. I'm pretty sure we fought on our honeymoon, but I really don't remember and I'm just going to keep it that way. As far as I know, we didn't have any fights. Well, that's very likely and very possible. I don't really need remember it. If you can, just forget what you need to.

11:35 Another one is kiss and makeup. A lot of the time when we're on vacation, we might be running on less sleep or a little bit more stress. There are just situations you're just not dealing with on your day-to-day life. If you did something that wasn't your best, most the time a sincere apology will do wonders, and you can just move on from it.

11:54 The last one, which hopefully is more fun, is to talk about it so much. Again, this is similar to anticipating it, but again so much of the benefit of a trip is that anticipation in the beginning and reliving after the fact.

12:07 Remember photo albums like actual physical photo albums that people used to have? Not like a bucket of pictures on your Facebook account. Maybe you want to do that. Maybe you could do it together. Think about the money that you invest in your trip adding whatever $15 to get a photo album of the trip and taking that time to relive all those things and write out your captions. Actually, you're getting more value out of the whole trip by doing that. This is not, by the way, meant to pressure anybody that if you haven't done it, you have another thing on your shoe list. Just an idea.

12:39 Another idea is journals. Remember journals back before it was public on your social network? When you just wrote things. Maybe some of you still do. Those are great too. However you want to remember it, maybe it's just the two of you talking it out over a date. Maybe it's sharing with your family. So much of that benefit is really going to come from just rehashing, and so go ahead and do that and enjoy.

13:02 Again, I hope it will come back to the whole topic of travel. This is really just sort of an overview of thinking about how to approach it in a way that will be the most advantageous, but obviously there is so, so much more to say. I would love to hear from you. You can always reach out to me. I've been getting some messages from you on Instagram @firstyearmarried. I love hearing from you there.

13:21 You can always reach out to me there. Tell me questions you have, things you like to talk about with travel specifically or anything more generally. I hope you have a fantastic week. I'll see you back here next week. Bye-bye.

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