In seasickness or health,
showers or not,
from sunburn to dusk,
and saltwater to fresh...
I think maybe cruising couples should take vows before they leave the dock. Go though a little pre-cruising counselling, perhaps? How many of us really know what we're heading into when we 'go cruising'? The strains it can put on a relationship? The fear and the doubts? Can we be prepared for it? (OK, just so I don't scare our girls, this isn't one of those stories about how we fell apart because of cruising. We're still married and we still like each other!)
Funny thing: as I'm sitting here trying to write about relationships on a boat, Steve, who is taking the auto helm motor apart said "I could use a little whack with the hammer", so I picked up the hammer and gave him a little whack. So easy to be cooperative and get along on a boat.
We had no idea what we were getting into with the boat or in terms of 'us'. I had never been on a sailboat until the day we moved aboard, 10 years ago. It was a steep learning curve. When we left to go cruising 4 years ago, Steve had just retired after 24 years in the Air Force. He had traveled A LOT. Our girls were both out on their own. So there I was, a career military wife: independent, capable, resourceful. I was used to spending my off work time however I wanted. Suddenly, (and it really was sudden: we went from living at a dock and having a car, to neither, overnight). So it really did seem sudden to me. Suddenly we were doing laundry together and shopping together and walking together and eating every meal together, going everywhere together. It was too much togetherness for me. After 6 months, I was taking the cat and leaving. We obviously weren't working well together.
It can be a really hard thing, this learning to ignore each other nicely in a small space and not get your feelings hurt. To understand when your partner needs some mental space and let them have it ( and I don't mean with a hammer). To be generous in forgiving small things. To take and to give. To remember to laugh with each other when things really suck, instead of placing blame. It's been 10 years since we set out on this particular journey and we've learned more about each other in these 10 years than in the 20 before that. We keep learning because we keep changing and we keep changing because we keep learning, about the world and about ourselves.
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