Traveling is one of the best times EVER to practice being a good spouse. No matter where you go, whether it's camping or globe trotting between 5-star hotels, there are usually multitudes of challenging situations that will arise. It can be easier than ever to lose your cool. I've heard of couples having some of the worst fights of their lives while traveling - sometimes even on their honeymoon.
Well, I'd love to help you avoid that. Here are six things to keep in mind if you want to have a stress-free, romantic vacation this year:
1. IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG…remember that circumstances do not produce happiness, anyway.
YOU produce happiness. YOU choose it. YOU can even create it out of nothing, if needed. Happiness isn't found only if people never get lost. It isn't found only when flights are always on time. It isn't found only when you look amazing in your bikini. It can be found in ANY circumstance. You just have to own up to the fact that you are the control center of how you feel - not some dude that just stole your wallet. Pretty soon, stolen goods or red eye flights will hardly faze you. Happiness comes because you choose it. And that is the only, only way to cultivate happiness that lasts.
Example: We recently went to Rio de Janeiro. 3 minutes before we were about to leave for JFK, I had a dental emergency come up (a cracked tooth situation.) Well, it was extremely painful, but we had no choice but to get on the plane. And so off we went to Rio. And upon our very first day there, we were able to make an emergency dental appointment on a Sunday. Not exactly what we had planned on. Not exactly what we wanted to spend money on. But really, we tried to look on the bright side. We were grateful that the situation could be taken care of. And we deliberately decided not to let the experience ruin our trip.
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2. IF YOU GET IN A BAD MOOD OVER SOMETHING…get over it, quickly.
If you constantly find yourself losing your cool, try responding to things in a healthier way - walk away, breathe, try to put things into perspective. If you're not already striving for that - no amount of Costa Rica or St. Bart's or Bali is going to insure that you get through a vacation without some rough spots.
Example: While in Brazil we went to the Amazon jungle. This excursion was the most expensive part of the trip, so we were expecting to get our money's worth. What we found upon arriving was… a flooded hotel! The river was at an all-time high, but the hotel failed to tell us this upon booking. Well, since there was nothing we could do about it, we decided to have a good attitude. And we still had an amazing experience.
3. IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A SWEET AND ROMANTIC EXPERIENCE…you have to show your spouse some love.
That's just the way it's done, folks. Be an active lover. In fact, a recent study found that acts of generosity between spouses were found in 50% of couples that reported having happy marriages. So, think of sweet things you can do to serve your spouse, surprise them, or help them.
Example: I had been admiring this necklace at a little shop. Danny said I should get it, but I was being frugal and decided to pass it up. Well, he later snuck back to the shop and bought it. He surprised me with it several days later at breakfast, which made me smile for days, let me tell you.
4. IF YOUR SPOUSE IS STRESSED OR MOODY…don't base your mood on theirs.
That is a recipe for disaster! Focus on your own mood. Holding your spouse responsible for keeping you happy is a dysfunctional and unhealthy way to approach a marriage. But being in charge of and choosing your own reactions is where it's at. Living this way is at the root of our happy marriage.
Example: We attended a long church service while in Brazil. The building was freezing, and it was also raining before we went in (blasting AC + wet clothes and hair = goose bumps for 2 hours.) Here I was when we came out. It was still raining, and even though I am smiling here, I was also so cold (and starving) that I had reached my limit. So I told Danny I needed to sit in the car and warm up while he continued to talk to people. Luckily he didn't take it personally. The situation could have been annoying to both of us, but we respected each other enough to not let it be a problem.
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5. IF YOU WANT TO TURN ANY GLITCHES AROUND… be hyper aware of your spouse's mood.
If you find them to be stressed or moody, elevate your kindness and love. Give it fully. In most cases your spouse will notice your extra love and patience and will appreciate it…greatly. There's a very good chance that they'll take a deep breath and take the moment they need to get back on track. And they'll love you even more for giving them time and a little boost of love to do that. (And hopefully it will make them want to do the same for you.)
Example: Danny was even more kind to me in that moment even though I was losing my cool. I was able to remain patient and as soon as he could, he took me straight to get some food.
6. IF YOU WANT YOUR SPOUSE TO FEEL AWESOME AND APPRECIATED…support each other.
If your spouse is navigating and that's not your forte…don't give unwanted advice. If your spouse booked the hotels and they turned out crappy, don't even dream of complaining. Show your spouse some gratitude and be thankful for all the help they've provided you.
Example: Danny was navigating all over Manaus, which was not an easy task. We were also in a crappy car with no power steering, on dirt roads, in the rain, in the mud, etc. Due to the lack of road signs, we took many wrong turns…but I just cheered him on and tried not to show him if I had any hints of stress or concern. This helped him a ton, as he already had enough on his plate as the driver.
- By Mara Kofoed
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Mara Kofoed, a Brooklynite of 12 years, is founder of A BLOG ABOUT LOVE. She writes her heart out daily sharing real stories about love, marriage, divorce, self-worth & trials. Because of her own divorce & 8 years of infertility, she learned something revolutionary: to choose happiness - even amidst obstacles - by living a life motivated by love.
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