October 27, 2011 By Chuck AllenIt may be hard to believe but those cute little critters you call pets are actually monsters. Well, they could become monsters – if you let Read More »
October 24, 2011 By Chuck AllenAh, vacation! It sounds so relaxing and fun. Images of lying on the beach or screaming on roller coasters dance in our minds. Packing is no Read More »
October 20, 2011 By Chuck AllenFighting back often means hunting down the monster. Most people assume that hunting begins with gathering the right equipment. Even in horror flicks the main character Read More »
October 17, 2011 By Chuck AllenWhy are all shows about marriage comedies? Whether it’s movies or television, if the main story is about marriage, comedy will abound. Sure, there are married Read More »
September 22, 2011 By Chuck AllenOne of the goals of this blog is to provide advice for men who are considering marriage. Women have strange rituals such as teas and showers Read More »
Tag Archives: travel
Ah, vacation! It sounds so relaxing and fun. Images of lying on the beach or screaming on roller coasters dance in our minds. Packing is no fun, but we do it with joy because of the adventures that lie ahead. We fill bags with clothes, coolers with ice and our head with unrealistic expectations.
If you are like most couples you have one partner that prefers to do most of the driving. This is normal and healthy, so don’t let it bother you when you meet those odd couples who share the duties evenly.
For the sake of your marriage I highly recommend that the driving partner review all maps and directions thoroughly prior to departure. Even with the best planning, however, the time will come where the non-driving partner will be called upon to read the map and navigate. This is a true marriage monster.
Even if the past hour of the trip has been filled with loving chatter and bonding, an evil mist fills the vehicle once the map is unfolded or the GPS settings are adjusted. Somehow my wife transforms from someone who loves me into an evil alien whose sole aim in life is to confuse me and get me lost. Consider this example of a road trip transfomation:
Conversation before the navigation duties:
“I’m really tired. I guess I should have gotten more sleep last night.”
“I’m sorry, honey. Do you want me to get you a drink out of the cooler? Some caffeine might help.”
“Thanks, Dear. That would be great. By the way, those sandwiches you made for lunch were fantastic.”
“Awe. I’m glad you liked them. I cut the edges off just like your grandma used to do.”
Navigation crisis arises. Map/GPS is consulted:
“What road was that we just passed?”
“I don’t know. The map says…”
“I didn’t ask what the map said. I asked what road we just passed.”
“I wasn’t looking.”
“You weren’t looking? How can you tell me where to turn if you don’t look at the road names.”
“Well, I saw that it started with a ‘p’ and the map shows a Partridge Drive. Maybe that was it?”
“Oh wait. We just passed a Wal-Mart. This map doesn’t show a Wal-Mart anywhere around here.”
[Muttered swears have been removed to keep this site clean.]
“Ok. That is Piedmont that we just passed. Do you see that on the map?”
“Piedmont? That starts with ‘p’….”
“Yes. Yes, it does.”
At this point it is easy to assume that aliens have taken over my wife and that she is, in fact, the monster. Conversely, she probably assumes the same of me. Some marriage books recommend playing a quick game of “rock, paper, scissors” (also known as “Ro-Sham-Bo”) to determine who gets to be the monster.
The key, however, is to remember that there was a reason the two of you started this trip together. At some point in your relationship this alien sitting next to you was the person with whom you most wanted to travel. A few wrong turns and a long pause to read the map for yourself is not the end of the world. Most importantly, it need not be the end of your relationship. A deep breath and an apology for losing your temper might be the best weapon in this case.
It’s that time of year again when people turn their attention towards vacation/holiday plans. Visions of beaches and guided tours fill our heads and trick us into forgetting the heat and hassles of the last trip. For many couples this is the premier event of the year; requiring careful budgeting and saving. For others this may be the only time when they get to eat more than two meals in a row together. In almost every case, it’s a big deal, which puts pressure on the relationship to make it more special than ever before.
Unfortunately, though, many men embark on vacation planning with the same strategy that we employ for almost everything else: avoidance. Oddly enough, we are also surprised with the result when things turn to chaos. So today’s post aims to provide husbands with a vacation planning guide.
To keep it simple we’ve narrowed it down to two basic options:
- Don’t! – If you value your marriage, your best bet may be to let your wife plan the vacation. The upside to this strategy is that you cannot be blamed for any of the trip’s problems. The fact that the hotel smells like a month-old wet towel? Not your fault. The fact that it is actually 30 miles away from the beach even though it’s named “Beachside Motel”? Not your fault either. As an added bonus, you can point out to your wife how these things happen and are not really the fault of the person planning the trip. (Or you can gloat, but we don’t recommend that.)
- Surprise her – If the thought of surrendering control to you wife is too much for you then your next best option is to surprise her. By choosing to surprise her, you take the risk of being held responsible for all trip problems, but you avoid the disagreements during the planning stage. You get to pick every little detail without second guessing a single one! And, if you spin it right, you can get points for being spontaneous. Simply point out that you did all of this “for her”. (And don’t let her know it took you six months to figure out the details.)
But seriously: vacation planning, and even vacations themselves, can be stressful. Whatever your preference of destination, make sure the trip is about spending time together. Even if the hotel is horrible or you end up sick from the dinner special, you will look back on these times with fondness if you focus on each other instead of the problems.
What about you? Do you have any horrible vacation stories?
My wife and I recently went on a trip to Haiti with an organization called A Home in Haiti. And while we enjoy traveling together there is one task that pushes our marriage to the limits – packing the bags. I’m sure this is not specific to our marriage so today’s post will take a closer look at the perils of bag packing.
There are two basic types of bag packers. The first is the Type A bag packer. This person likes to pack clothes in sets (or “outfits”) and packs additional sets just in case they are needed. The Type A packer likes to have more than is needed to be ready for whatever comes their way. The order of the packing is also important and is based on a cryptic formula involving the trip itinerary, the color schemes in use and the alignment of various stars and planets. Packing for this person usually takes a few days as things are rearranged to match last-minute changes.
The other type of packer is the Type Z bag packer. This person packs items by number – 3 pair of underwear, 3 pair of socks, 3 pair of shorts, etc. This person usually assumes that some items can either be washed or worn dirty during a trip so the number of required items is limited. Color schemes are less important to this person other than the fact that they tend to utilize khaki and brown to keep things simple. The order in which items are packed is usually irrelevant and something akin to a child’s toy box. Packing for this person usually takes about an hour and is usually done at the last possible minute.
So what does this mean for your marriage? Here are two steps that you should follow to help minimize stress for your next trip.
1. Determine which type of packer you and your spouse are.
This may seem obvious but is a very important step. Type A and Type Z can apply to either gender so the makeup of each couple can be very different. In my marriage my wife is a type A packer while I am a definite Type Z. (Well, there was that one trip when I took five pair of shoes, but that was due to watching a season of Project Runway. I only returned with three pair.) In some marriages both couples may have the same tendency so observe carefully before jumping to conclusions.
2. Follow the matrix of packing rules shown below:
- If both of you are Type A, then you should each pack your own bags. Do not attempt to combine luggage or you will put your marriage in jeopardy.
- If one of you is Type A and the other is Type Z, then you should allow the Type A person to pack the luggage for both of you. This may seem like you are putting too much stress on the Type A person, but in the long run this is the best solution.
- If both of you are Type Z, then don’t worry about it. You can just wear whatever gets packed and you probably won’t be too worried about it. Just make sure that someone has the tickets and passports.
But seriously: Traveling can be a fun and rewarding activity for couples, but it can also be stressful. The important thing is to allow the stress to pull you together. Sometimes surviving a trip that seems out of control can bring a closeness that might otherwise be missed. So be ready for the stress – whether traveling or just getting through your work week – and tackle it together.
What about you? Do you have any great traveling stories to share? Tell us in the comments!