Thinking of tying the knot? Wait. Don't do it before you travel together. A word of caution: It can make or break your relationship. It will give you a much-needed reality check to see if it's going to work at all. Of course you've heard the age old proverb "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." In the case of your relationship, it can make it rock solid. Here's why I think travel is the ultimate relationship test:
See the worst of each other: While on the road, you're with your partner 24/7 and there's no way to hide who you really are. You get glimpse of what is beyond their best side. Traveling puts people out of their comfort zones and brings out the worst in them. Everyone has their own set of peculiarities which can be endearing or downright annoying. Ask yourself if you can deal with their idiosyncrasies for the rest of your life.
It's all about reactions: In most cases, something DOES go wrong while traveling. It could be a bus delay, losing valuables or getting lost in a new country. Notice how your partner reacts in these situations. Are they problem solvers; are they too proud to ask for your help; do they end up making you miserable by whining about the situation or do they just laugh about it and turn it into a big joke? It's important to figure out the reaction that you can live with.
Teamwork is the key: Couple traveling requires teamwork. So does marriage. The responsibilities get divided based on who can do what better. Figure out if you both operate in unison or not. Any successful long term relationship is a result of good teamwork. Being a good team is not just working together but is also supporting each other through thick and thin. If you suck at it the first few times, then let it teach you how to be a better team.
Space and trust issues: Everyone needs a little space in their relationship; however, not everyone lets their partner have that space. This could be because of a few insecurities or trust issues. Traveling gives you a sense of what is in store for you regarding space and trust. A few years back, traveling with my potential life partner made me realize that he was never going to let me indulge in a little "me" time. It happened when I decided to get a back massage to pamper myself after hours of walking around with a heavy backpack. He barged in during that massage and stood towering over my head all through my "me" time. He later mentioned it was because of a "male" masseur.
Conversations or confrontations: Long conversations are inevitable while traveling and certain unresolved issues have a way of resurfacing. Some matters remain unresolved because they are not addressed and may worsen with time. Traveling provides an opportunity to indulge in such discussions because you're away from work, free of stress and are in a different surrounding. Every couple fights, but is every one of your conversations turning into a confrontation?
Compromise: Even if you have similar interests, traveling will force you to give and take in many situations. From simple things such as agreeing on a restaurant to something as big as choosing your next destination together -- many circumstances demand a compromise. This will give you an idea of what kind of compromises you need to make if you decide to spend a lifetime together. It is only once you both learn to compromise, is when you can take your relationship to the next level.
I met my husband while backpacking and we ended up traveling together to many places very early in our relationship. After two failed relationships where traveling together was usually a painful event, this finally felt like the real thing and we decided to tie the knot. Each of the above points is based on my real experience and I hope you find them useful.
What do you think of this test? Comment below and let me know your thoughts.
If you enjoyed this post, then visit my blog Drifter Planet for more travel related stories.