Don’t marry anyone without reading this advice
The world is full of relationship advice – some good, some misguided, and some solely to get you to buy something.
The relationship advice I am about to give you is not only completely free, it is tried, tested and true.
And please do not ignore it.
Before I start, let me paint a picture.
You’ve just met the person of your dreams. You get along well, you really like each other, and you share lots of things in common. You might have been going out for a while, you might have even moved in together. Perhaps the conversation turns to a more permanent arrangement.
Whatever the case, my advice to you is as soon as you can, book a trip together.
Make sure it’s somewhere neither of you have been before. Preferably make it somewhere a little bit challenging: a place where neither of you speak the language; or perhaps somewhere completely opposite to where you currently live.
Whatever the case, make sure you are both completely out of your comfort zones.
If you both return from the trip unscathed, this is someone you should definitely continue to hang out with. If you return still in love, then, and only then, should you consider marrying this person.
Why is this so important?
The general premise of this advice is that if you can travel successfully together, then you are fundamentally well suited. This bodes well for a future in which you can survive and flourish in your relationship.
I feel so strongly about this that I will be making this a pre-requisite for my daughter and my son before they are allowed to consider settling down with someone. “Oh, you want to get married? So where did you go on your big trip together?” will be my standard reply.
I have seen many a relationship, both plutonic and romantic, flounder after a much longed for and planned for world trip. I’m sure you’ve seen it yourself. Two friends set off to explore the world together for a year, and within a month, they’re back at home swearing they will never speak to that person again, planning their re-entry to the workforce.
The best part of this piece of relationship advice though is the fact that it’s no-risk. Even if you end up both in a screaming, steaming, non-talking mess you can take comfort in the fact that you got to explore somewhere new. A brilliant life experience to add to the list. And quite possibly, a get out of jail free card at the same time.
I need you to understand how powerful this knowledge is.
But, like any truly ground-breaking discovery, not everyone believes it. Even when faced with the harsh reality.
I have found that some of the biggest naysayers to this advice are the ones who know for sure this advice rings true. Some of them are even the ones who have come back not speaking and cease to be friends.
Yet they deny that the test is what saved them from a future of misery with the wrong person. They choose to look at it as “we never should have gone on that trip and we’d be fine.” Or, those in even bigger denial might pull out the old chestnut of “oh we don’t travel well together. But otherwise we’re fine.” I would beg to differ…no no no people… this is the very worst kind of denial.
So what is it about travel that makes it the ultimate compatibility test?
Let’s have a look at a few elements of getting to know someone that you will never find in any other activity.
You see how they handle stress – big time!
Life is full of stress. A lot of it is slow burning though. It creeps up on you. Before you know it many times you only realise you are stressed when something significant happens – your relationship flounders, you lose your job, you get sick.
It’s hard to gauge how your potential life partner handles stress in the ho-hum of everyday life.
However, put the two of you in a completely different country, where you don’t speak the language and you are completely lost with an out of date map, and you find out pretty quick what this person’s default stress management position is.
Had we not checked out compatibility before marrying and we travelled to Barcelona with our young kids, have a read of Barcelona… the ugly truth, and tell me if you think we would have survived.
There’s something about getting lost especially, which brings out the best (and worst) in people. It shows pretty quickly how you handle adversity and how you cope with the unknown.
I’ve seen many a couple in this situation enter complete panic mode. There will be blame, yelling and pointing. Some even storm off. But then, you will see other couples poring over maps together, looking for signs, asking questions, working as a team.
This is a good indicator for how you will handle stress and uncertainty in the future, both as individuals and as a team.
Yelling, tantrums and blame could one-day be your everyday reality. Or, if this is someone who simply gives up and goes to sit on a bench to sulk and/or cry, then this is the kind of reaction you can probably expect from them when the chips are down in life as well.
And I don’t know about you but I’d rather find out that the man I love is a complete psycho that runs around throwing things, abusing people and bashing up innocents before I marry him, than find it out when I have to deal with that on a daily basis.
This is why it’s crucial to travel somewhere completely unknown to really test out this part of someone’s character. It’s a polarised view of their ability to cope with adversity – on steroids.
Do you have a shared sense of adventure?
Travel is all about taking things as they come and seizing opportunities when they present.
Some of the most amazing nights/days out I’ve had over all the years have been completely unplanned. Things that crop up that you would never foresee or do in everyday life.
And over the years and the travelling companions, I have found that this can be one of the most important things you learn about someone.
Does your spirit of adventure align?
I’ve been on trips with people where I’ve wanted to get out and seize a unique opportunity that has come up, and all they want to do is go back to the hotel and sleep. I’ve also been on trips where all the other person has wanted to do is go completely crazy and take extreme risks that have made me want to vomit in a corner.
Neither is a particularly good scenario.
The important thing you will discover is how aligned your spirits are.
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with someone not wanting to try new things, if you also don’t want to try new things. But if one of you is always compromising on adventure to keep the other happy, this is a good pointer to the way your relationship will likely flow in the future.
Are you both planners or do you play it by ear?
The other thing travel exposes is how aligned you are from a planning perspective.
I’ve travelled with planners and people who like to know the daily agenda of what is going to occur. And whilst I can cope with a little bit of structure, I get extremely stressed when someone will give up a new opportunity that presents itself just because there was an earlier agreement on the order of the day.
I once travelled with a girl who actually wrote out a schedule at the beginning of the day and checked in hourly on how we were tracking. It’s her way of ensuring she ticks off everything on her ‘must see’ tourist list in each city.
I nearly shoved that list up her nose many, many times.
And whilst it might not sound that important, I truly believe that the way you like to work through a trip extends to the way that you will work through planning a life together.
If one of you always wants a map to where you are going and the other likes to feel their way, it’s bound to end drama at some point.
In this respect, lovely Hubby and I are truly blessed. We are kindred spirits. Neither of us usually even read up about our destination until we are either on the flight or sitting having our first coffee on arrival.
I honestly believe this translates into the rest of our existence. We may have discovered this without travelling together, but it would have taken a lot longer to be certain.
How do you handle adversity?
There will always be things that happen when you are travelling that you don’t expect.
It might just be one of you gets a cold or it could be a bout of food poisoning. Who knows?
How someone handle’s adversity is not always obvious at first. However, when you are on the road together, you will learn pretty quickly. Their approach to things like illness or other unfortunate situations will become immediately obvious.
And this really can be a deal-breaker for a relationship.
I once travelled with a guy who I thought was completely fabulous. Then one day, after a few days travelling through cold and snow in one of the most spectacular outdoor locations in the world, he got mild flu.
Do you think he would go out and do anything once he got sick?
Nope. He just lay in bed moaning and complaining. The worst bout of ‘man-flu’ I have ever seen. And I’m honestly not a heartless wench. He really wasn’t that sick.
My firm belief is that when you are on a trip in some amazing place that you may never come back to, you dose up on cold and flu tablets and Panadol, and you still get out there as much as you can. It speaks volumes about character that this man wouldn’t even push himself to sit up in bed, let alone leave the house in this spectacular location. I couldn’t help but wonder if this is how he handles adversity all the time.
Had we not had this experience, I might never have seen this side of him.
Think about it. If your partner can’t pick themselves up and carry on while you’re on holiday and in the first flush of love, what hope do you have of them picking themselves up down the track. And the stakes will be much higher then.
It may sound small but it speaks big!
I’m in no way advocating of course that being a man-flu sufferer makes someone instantly undesirable. However, finding it out upfront makes it easier to weigh up early on whether they have enough redeeming qualities for you to be able to excuse this one if you decide to move forward together.
Compatibility is the key
I guess my ultimate point here is that everyone wants to find someone they ‘click’ with. We all want to be with someone who ‘fits’, like a comfortable shoe that you’ve turn to when you know you have to walk a long way.
It’s easy to think you’ve met that person when you are both completely in your comfort zones, in your own space and surrounded by close friends and family.
It can take years to unearth all the little personality flaws, areas of misalignment and differences in approach to life when you are not challenged on them.
Fast-track this learning in an instant with travel!
But what if you missed this step?
For some of you, I can hear you thinking – what do I do now?
Perhaps you recognised someone in this article that you are with right now. Or perhaps you fear that these traits might be lurking within the person you are about to marry, or have just married? Maybe you’ve just returned from a trip and experienced the pain of a poor match for yourself.
Well, if you’ve found out this information prior to committing to a life together, I applaud you. Take the big step. Move on swiftly.
However, if you have already committed and are now in the pickle of knowing you shouldn’t be together but you are you have decisions to make.
It’s up to you to work out how much you are willing to sacrifice in life in order to stick with this person.
You always have a choice.
I can sense the scepticism in your mind. But trust me when I say – I speak from first-hand experience.
A final word of advice…
I have travelled A LOT. I have travelled with many different people.
And those who I travelled well with are still lifelong friends. In fact, one of them is my husband.
The others are all ‘somebody I used to know’. Including my ex-husband!
Travel helps you get the information you need to make an informed decision about your life.
Is this really someone you could spend the rest of your life with? Or are you being fooled by the lust and infatuation that comes from being with someone new?
Remember, if you can survive a trip with someone and still be as madly in love with them at the end as you are in the beginning, grab onto that person and hold them with both hands. You just might have found that kindred spirit you’ve been looking for.
As always, love to hear your thoughts/comments/opinions. And if you have a story to share, I’d love to hear it!