There are so many ways to keep your relationship strong and to grow alongside your partner. For me and my husband, our preferred method is travel.
I first met Nathan in a hostel dorm room in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was 2011, and I was on a European backpacking trip just after college, traveling with my best friend. Call it fate, serendipity, or mere coincidence, but I still can’t believe that I looked across that cramped, dingy dorm room and saw my future husband sitting there. (Though of course, I wouldn’t know it at the time).
Fast forward almost six years later and we’re now married, having shared adventures across the world. We drove 5,000 miles around Australia in a cozy campervan. We house sat for two tiny dogs on the coast of Southeast England. We enjoyed a snowy, romantic Christmas in charming Brasov, Romania. We snorkeled with whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea.
We’ve done a lot, and through it all, we’ve ultimately learned how travel has forced us both to grow, and made that growth happen together. In so many ways, travel has strengthened and enriched our relationship, and now our marriage. If you make adventuring a priority, it can do the same for you. Here are 6 ways travel can deepen your love.
You see the best and worst of each other
Yes, it’s kind of scary, but travel can bring out your greatest faults, your whiniest complaints, and your lowest moments. Traveling together in close quarters can especially result in tensions running high, and if you add delayed flights or getting lost to the mix, you’ve got a recipe for stress.
In a marriage, travel can help you reveal some of your issues (or at least unearth a few of your pet peeves and minor grievances). You become vulnerable and really REAL with one another, and the resulting bond that is formed—even in the face of a few fights—is undeniable.
Those shared memories and inside jokes are priceless
Being married to your best friend is one of the greatest blessings a person can have. Getting to travel with that person is an even greater joy. Nothing can compare, for us, to the special and private memories we’ve had together while on the road. No one else was there when we drove up a pitch black mountain in Wales at midnight and got stuck at the top. Together, we got out of that sticky situation, and now we can laugh together about that hilarious, terrifying moment. I wouldn’t trade that for the world, and we plan to keep making more of these memories together.
Couples travel teaches you how to compromise
There’s a beauty in solo travel. You get to be 100% in charge of your own adventure. When traveling with your partner, compromise is necessary. This is such a valuable skill to develop in any marriage, and travel makes an excellent proving ground. When you’re out in the world together, you’ll realize you have to make sacrifices for the benefit of your significant other. And that’s okay. So you have to give up the museum visit so she can see something she wants to see. But seeing your loved one happy? That’s an incredible reward. These kinds of compromises are a wonderful way to show your love for one another—and to ensure you have a happy trip for two.
You’ll rely on one another like never before
Sometimes travel can be a bit scary. You’re in an unfamiliar place, perhaps far from anyone you know. Except, of course, your spouse. It’s time to get cozy! Indeed, traveling together will make you rely heavily on one another. This is great because it helps build trust, respect, and companionship. Especially when things get tough. (There’s nothing like food poisoning abroad to really bring the marriage to the level of realness!)
This reliance on one another can also be a point of tension, so it’s important to be communicative about your needs. We recommend taking a day or even just a couple hours to travel on your own and soak in the culture independently. It can be an ideal way to rejuvenate yourself.
Travel is the perfect opportunity for romance
Ooh la la! You’ve probably heard before that travel is a wonderful way to rekindle the flame of passion. We totally think this is true, whether it’s a simple camping trip or a luxury beach resort vacation. You don’t even have to go very far to have a beautiful weekend away. Road trips are an awesome excuse for an escape. Now that we’re living in New England, we plan to embark on plenty of romantic getaways that are just a few hours’ drive away.
Simply being in a new environment enlivens your senses, and brings a newness and freshness to your relationship. It’s always a good idea to keep your expectations reasonable when traveling together, though. Not every couples trip will be a love fest, and that’s totally ok. Just go with the flow and enjoy your time together.
Embarking on adventures makes you better people
Your marriage will be enriched by travel not only because you grow together, but because you grow independently. Getting out of your comfort zone, trying new things, expanding your horizons….all of this equates to becoming a more mature, thoughtful, and brave individual. If you’re traveling internationally, it can also help you develop your understanding of other cultures and widen your views of the world and its people. This is invaluable knowledge and there’s no better way to obtain it than through travel.
Whether close to home or across the globe, adventuring hand in hand will change you like nothing else, and will transform your relationship for the better.
Amy Hartle is a writer and photographer at Two Drifters, a couples lifestyle & travel blog. Together with her husband, she aims to share her adventures around the world, as well as travel and lifestyle tips. The ultimate goal is to inspire others to “journey farther, together.” She currently lives in New Hampshire.