I have a friend who is much younger than me, the father of two children, who went through a bad patch in his marriage a while back. It looked like things were over between him and his wife and he moved out for a while, at her request. Fortunately, they seem to be working things out and he is back at home. He mentioned that one of the things that has really helped is that they have started communicating much better about what they want and need in their lives and in their marriage.
Whenever I do a seminar on fulltime RVing at a rally or RV event, I always tell the audience that it’s one thing to love your partner, but if you’re going to be successful in the fulltime RV lifestyle, you also really have to like each other. I think we’ve all known people who love their spouses, but you wonder how much they really like each other.
When you live in a sticks and bricks house and you have a little spat, hubby can go out to the garage and putter and mutter at his workbench, or the wife can go next door to the neighbor’s house and have a cup of tea and talk about what a jerk he is, and eventually it all works out. But when you’re living in a 300 square foot RV, there’s no place to go and hide.
Terry and I truly are best friends. We enjoyed being together all the time, whether I’m writing and she’s weaving, or we’re out paddling in our Sea Eagle kayaks, flying kites on a beach someplace, or exploring America from the cockpit of our home on wheels.
This was not the first marriage for either of us and we were in our mid-40s when we got together. We were both pretty much set in our ways. We quickly realized that communication is everything.
More than once when we were teaching at Life on Wheels we had someone come to us during a break between classes and start unloading about how unhappy they were living and traveling in an RV. More times than not, it was a woman, and more often than not the complaint was based upon the same thing; the husband wanted to drive four or five hundred miles a day (or more), pull into a campground after dark, get a few hours sleep, and hit the road again.
I guess that’s okay if you’re in a hurry to get someplace where you’ll then settle in for a while, but I’m talking about guys who did this continuously. We had a couple in one of our classes who had been on the road for a year and he was bragging that they had only spent two nights in a campground in all that time. The rest of the time had been at Flying Js, WalMart’s, and highway rest areas. As the wife said, she didn’t leave her home and kids and grandkids to spend her days looking at the world through a windshield. If she wanted that, she would have become a truck driver. I asked her if she had told him how she felt, and she said no, because he wouldn’t listen anyway. Terry and I knew then that if that was the case, they were doomed to fail as RVers.
The other side of the coin is someone I recently heard from who said her husband never wants to go anywhere. They went to Florida for the winter, and once they were set up in the park where they spent the season, he sat down in front of his computer and started playing games and didn’t want to do anything. Disney World? Nope, wasn’t interested. The Everglades? No thanks. A day trip to the beach? Not going to happen. Worse, he got mad if she wanted to do anything by herself. He wanted her right there with him. Can you say control freak?
Not everybody likes the same things, including married couples. Hubby may enjoy a ballgame, or playing golf, while the wife may be interested in hiking or riding a bicycle, or touring a museum. That’s where communication and compromise comes in. Maybe agree that we’ll go to a ballgame today, and Friday we’ll go for a bike ride. Or maybe you do your thing on Wednesday and I’ll do mine and I’ll see you back at the motorhome at dinnertime.
But you can’t compromise if you can’t communicate. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “this is what I want or need.” That doesn’t make you selfish. Of course, you’ve got to listen when your partner says the same thing, and be willing to meet them somewhere in the middle with something that works for both of you. Communication and compromise are everything
On another topic, a very talented young woman named Elizabeth Mackey creates my book covers for me. Yesterday she did a video interview with theauthorbiz.com about book cover design that we found quite interesting. You can watch it on You Tube at this link.
If you enjoy traveling the back roads like we do, and discovering the stories that you don’t find in the tourist brochures, check out a new book by Deb Sanders called Road Tales: Myth, Lore, and Curiosities From America’s Back Roads. It’s a unique travelogue featuring tales and legends found along America’s back roads and a book that every traveler will enjoy.
Thought For The Day – You are the hero of your own story.