Couples can learn how to be together through travels. This can consist of a small weekend or day trip or something longer and more intricate. The metaphor of the journey a couple takes and how they navigate and progress along the way, parallels the essence of a relationship, as we note in our book, Couples at the Crossroads: Five Steps to Finding Your Way Back to Love. The same challenges of a relationship appear daily in our regular routine and become accentuated when we travel to new areas whether physically or psychologically. Once we change, we cause a ripple effect and change occurs. Once we take a trip, we can expand our world as it may take us to places that we have not yet experienced.
The travels together can be a vehicle to encourage partners to co-exist in an altered proximity than happens in daily life and therefore require partners to adopt different methods for coping. Each one has to pitch in and may find out that the support needed is actually there, when it was assumed otherwise. And, partners may be surprised to find that once emotional needs are put forward, support can emerge. Only when partners acknowledge the holes, can they work together to fill them. This creates an opportunity for each to carve out ways to make the situations with each other more solid. The traveling becomes foundation building.
When traveling, partners can learn to build safety with and for each other. They become partners on the road and learn reliance and healthy dependence when together in different territory. And, from this experience, they find they can learn another level of trust and well-being. There is a give and take, a flexibility that can be discovered as they move out of the known into the unknown. Qualities may emerge that each did not realize and these become appreciated.
Travel brings out a time for relaxation and pleasure. It breaks up routines of hectic daily life and accentuates the basics of spending uninterrupted time together. By setting up a different rhythm, partners can open their interactions to other possibilities. For example, they may take the time to share dreams, daily observations and reflections on feelings and emotions. They set aside the time to listen rather than be in the midst of rushing out the door. Each can learn ways of being attentive to the other. Once again, this happens as partners make a conscious choice to spend time together, but really be together. The joys and discomforts of intimacy come into bold relief. Each comes to see the challenges and rewards of their connection.
The following quote is another way of explaining the necessity of recognizing the value of the inner and outer travels that partners can take together. “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” C.G. Jung
Susan E. Schwartz, Ph.D.