No, that’s not a typo that I left in the headline to give my proofreading friends a migraine. It’s a word that I made up to describe living long term with your spouse or partner in the close confines of an RV. It is a situation that can be either heaven on earth, or pure hell, depending on the couple.
I always tell newbies and wannabe RVers that it’s one thing to love your significant other, but if you plan to live the RV lifestyle, you had better really like each other too! Because when you live in a 2,000 square foot house and start to get on each others’ nerves, or have a little spat, one of you can always retreat to the bedroom, garage, or workshop until you cool off. But if you live in a 300 square foot box on wheels, there is nowhere to go to escape!
Back when I was teaching for the Life on Wheels program, a couple sat though my The Reluctant RVer seminar, in which I explore the concerns that many new RVers have to deal with that are holding them back from totally embracing the RV lifestyle. One couple came up to me later and thanked me for talking them out of selling their home and becoming fulltime RVers. They said that they love to travel, but that they are always arguing and stepping on each others’ toes in hotel rooms because they each didn’t have their own space, and they had hoped that RVing would be the answer. They told me that my class convinced them that this would have probably ended in a divorce. Not everybody is cut out for the RV lifestyle, and I’m glad that they released it before they sold their home and invested all of their money in an RV.
The couple in this photograph, on the other hand, are a perfect example of a loving relationship that has only grown stronger through RVing. We have known Sal and Bonnie Bellomo for years, and they are delightful people who are totally in love with each other. Sal is her knight in shining armor, and Bonnie is, and always will be, his fair princess. It makes my heart warm every time I see them together.
So what does it take to have a successful relationship on the road? I think the same things that are required for any relationship, only more so.
Communication is probably first and foremost. A lot of guys are terrible about keeping things inside of them until they fester and blow up. I’ve been guilty of that myself more than once. If something is bothering you, or if you are not enjoying something, talk it out. Ladies, if he is a slob and you are tired of picking up for him, or if you need some help with the household chores, tell him so. Don’t just bite your tongue and let resentments build. I always tell Miss Terry that I can read books, magazines, and internet blogs, but I can’t read minds.
Compromise is just as important. If one half of the couple wants to spend a few weeks sitting still, and the other one always wants to be on the go, something has to give. Agree to spend a few days sightseeing, and then block out some downtime for just relaxing around the RV park, reading, watching TV, or whatever it takes to recharge your physical and emotional batteries.
You both have to be on the same page. Does the husband see RVing as an endless exploration of the back roads, seeing new places every day; while the wife envisioned a lifestyle where she could go and spend quality time with the kids and grandkids scattered around the country, staying in their driveway or in a nearby RV park for weeks at a time? Discuss before you start what you both expect this new lifestyle to be.
Treat every day like your first date. My dad told me once that a man should always treat his wife with the same respect and consideration that he did on their first date, and it was good advice. The little things mean a lot. My wife and I may have just had a terrible argument, and we might both be ready to poke each others’ eyes out, but you’ll never see her get into a car without me holding the door for her. Guys, compliment your wife when she makes you a nice dinner, and tell her how pretty she is. And ladies, it’s not a one way street. We need some positives strokes too. When you arrive at a campground at the end of a long day on the road, thank your husband for getting you both there safely. If you get hung up in heavy traffic, or have to thread your way through a narrow construction zone, compliment him on his driving skill once you’re in the clear.
In this RV lifestyle, you will have to depend on each other for everything. Even RVers have bad days from time to time. Our lives may seem like a permanent vacation, but the reality is that you might be a thousand miles from the nearest familiar face, you might be sick, tired, or discouraged about something. You may be feeling insecure, you may be homesick for the grandkids, or you may just have the blues. Having a loving, supportive partner can help you get through it and back to the sunny side of the street.
Of course, the flip side to that is that when the sun is shining, life is good, and you are excited about the day’s new adventures, it’s sure great to have your best friend by your side to share it with!
Thought For The Day – It’s a great pity that things weren’t so arranged that an empty head, like an empty stomach, wouldn’t let its owner rest until he had put something in it.