How travelling helps improve your relationship, even after marriage

So we’ve just passed our 3rd year anniversary a month back, and it got me thinking about how we’ve always been travelling as part of our annual anniversary celebrations. And that led to more thoughts about how travelling has played a role in our marriage for the past 3 years. Which I guess led to this post 🙂 Happy reading!

Monotony in marriage life is something that may happen to any of us.

We may begin to take our partner for granted as we get too used to one another, or prefer to live within the comfort of our own routines. Goals may start to center around responsibilities instead of something exciting to look forward to. Commitment may feel like obligations rather than a desire to strengthen the relationship. And with that, passion may wither and fade with time. This may be a bleak, but not necessary irrelevant outlook for some relationships.

Withering love amarriedtraveller

Understanding relationship as balancing an inverted pyramid

As according to Sternberg’s triangle theory of love, there are three components in a relationship that interact with each other and determine our experience of love.

Intimacy refers to the feeling of connectedness or bond, usually fueled by goals and interests between couples. Passion suggests the appeal, arousals and desires for each other, and lastly, Commitment is the decision to maintain that love for one another.

I find this concept rather useful and prefer to think of it as an act of balancing an inverted pyramid, with each component representing a tip of that triangular base. Neglect in one area will set the inverted pyramid topping over to the other sides.

For example, a newborn child to the family might increase the commitment and intimacy of a couple, but lead to a decline in passion due to a neglect of each other in the child’s daily matter.

Yes, it is true that an imbalance pyramid does not necessary equates to dissatisfaction in a relationship, and that it is almost impossible to maintain a perfectly balanced pyramid all the time. But it does help for us to know which side our pyramid is tipping towards.

The effort to balance the pyramid to bring satisfaction in every aspect of our relationship can be a very meaningful learning journey.

an act of balancing

Travelling and its’ benefits for your relationship pyramid

This is where I find travelling very helpful with my personal pyramid. Travelling is like a booster pill that has multiple benefits for various components of my relationship.

I’m sharing 6 of the key relationship benefits I’ve gotten through travelling. Hopefully, this article will get you back to pursuing your wanderlust with your partner.

1. A precious private time and space

Travelling provides that space where we can legitimately become un-contactable, and where we can really soak in the company of each other.

Suspended in a period of liminality, we are freed from our daily roles and identities, and yet, not bounded by any expectations as guests in foreign lands. It is here that I can express myself most freely with my spouse. Whether as a young boy re-courting love or a new borne child being amazed by everything I see.

We are also able to really listen and talk to each other over a meal or drinks at a random cafe, bar or restaurant, as we immerse ourselves in the unfamiliar environment.

I find ourselves conversing about topics which rarely surface in our day-to-day interactions, such as our dreams, childhood memories, fears, passion and desires. In some ways, this helps to foster our intimacy and passion with each other.

Cruising through the streets of Hong Kong and being able to act silly and be who we want to be at that moment.

2. Support and appreciation in situations of uncertainties and adversities

It is during uncertainties and adversities that our support, love and appreciation for each other shines the brightest.

Travelling sometimes require us to get out of our comfort zone and be thrown into situations of uncertainties and adversities. I find this especially helpful for the growth of our relationship. We are forced to support and appreciate each other, especially in situations where all we have are one another.

Needless to say, we do experience disagreements. But it is also here that we learn how to work things through as a couple, to talk about our discomforts, and find out how we can better support each other.

We bring our learnings from overcoming these temporal challenges back into our relationship, and become better at working through our differences. This helps us to strengthen our commitment towards one another.

Trekking in RInjani
Supporting each other in a rainy, wet and torturing trek in Rinjani

3. Learning something new about each other

Learning something new about each other revitalizes our relationship and allow us to see each other with renewed wonder and admiration.

Travelling always allow us to learn something new about each other. Sometimes, you can be surprised at things you learn, even about yourself.

Just as how I’ve learnt during my Mongolia trip last year that the Married Girl actually really loves horse-riding and is more adventurous than I thought, having survived a 8 days outdoor trek and scaling Banyan-Olgiy with relative ease.

Horse riding mongolia
The Married Girl really loves her horse, so much that she teared when we had to bid farewell to it.

4. A goal to look forward

Travelling, unlike many goals in our daily lives, is a goal that is not fuelled by needs or responsibilities. It can also be a fun and exciting goal that a couple can very much look forward to.

Having goals as such can be an energizer in any relationship and booster the intimacy between couples.

paragliding in malang
Married Girl’ first paragliding experience in Malang. It was our goal for the trip, to experience something new.

5. Creating bonding moments

Bonding memories can help the relationship go a long way by being the fuel to our commitment.

If you have read my previous article about the real significance of honeymoons, you will understand the importance of bonding memories. Travelling allow us to create fun memories that we can laugh over; memories of strength when we overcome our differences or of love and appreciation when we support each other in times of adversities.

6. Enhancing passion

Almost always, we find our passion for each other enhanced after every trip.

Perhaps due to the temporal suspension of stress, or being able to just enjoy the company of each other without distractions. Or maybe because there are usually really nothing much to do in the evenings, especially when we are backpacking through the countryside. (Hehe… just kidding).

Laying around in the plains of Mongolia
Just laying around together in the plains of Mongolia

A strengthening of relationship

Overall, travelling has helped us strengthen our relationship in many ways. While it is not the only determinant to a healthy relationship,  it is definitely something that has helped us grow that we very much look forward to.

So,  if you have been casting away your wanderlust due to the burdens of daily life, we urge you to get your things packing and take that wonderful break with your partner, whenever you are able to.

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