Today’s article was inspired by my latest trip to Las Vegas and by many of my clients who have been traveling lately. I coach couples to be sure they discuss all the details with each other before they leave for their destination. I teach them how to communicate to each other so each listens with an open ear and open heart, avoiding upsetting or hurting each other. Many couples I see do not know how to communicate their wants and needs in an effective way. I help them to master this and to be a successful traveling couple as well. Here are just a few suggestions to begin that process:
1. Get to know each other’s basic needs. First you have to know what you personally need to be able to tell your partner this. I know from years of traveling by myself that I need a 1/2 hr to an hour nap each afternoon around 2:00 or 3:00 pm if I am going to last all night. I also know I need to eat every 2 to 3 hours (I have really low blood sugar). My sweetheart knows this about me because I have told him (and he has experienced me when I haven’t taken care of myself, and that’s not too pretty!). It is also my responsibility to take care of my own needs, so I bring water and snacks with me wherever I go, and communicate when I am getting close to crashing. I have found when I don’t take care of myself I get irritable and less patient (this can be the beginning of disaster).
2. Sit down together each day to plan and discuss the next day, at least the night before – to assure each person knows the activities, itinerary, departure times etc. This is a good opportunity to honestly discuss what you may like to do and not like to do, a time to decide on an earlier or later time depending on how you are both feeling. Planning and discussing the details helps you avoid upsets later. Also make sure each person makes commitments on time so that there are no upsets later. Synchronize your watches.
3. Continually check-in with each other throughout the day. Be aware of each others body language; if you see your partner avoiding eye contact or not wanting to talk or connect with you, you may want to ask her/him what she/he may be feeling or thinking. Catching upsets early and discussing them helps avoid big upsets later. I teach my clients specific communication techniques to make this process more successful.
4. Communicate openly and honestly. Be careful to tell each other all the details. This past trip to Vegas my sweetheart and I got into a bit of an upset. He underestimated how far it was to walk to The Bellagio from NY NY. It wouldn’t have been a problem if it was daytime and I was in shorts and tennis shoes, but I was in long white pants and 4 inch heals (he said it was a block.) It turned out in my estimation to be about 10-15 blocks. First I was upset because my feet hurt. Second I was upset because he mistakenly did not tell me the whole truth. Third I was upset because he reacted to me like it was not Ok that I was complaining. Fourth because he did not immediately apologize for misrepresenting the truth and for my feet hurting (he did apologize to my satisfaction later after much discussion of my upset and needs).
5. Learn from your mistakes while traveling and each take responsibility for your part so you can mature and grow. Use each mis-take, upset and or discussion as an opportunity to know yourself and your partner better. I coach people each day to become more aware of their own behavior and reactions so they can learn and grow. Traveling brings out the best and sometimes the worst in us due to situations we sometimes cannot control or prepare for. Every time I travel with my partner I learn something new about him and a lot more about myself. Use this opportunity to explore your intimacy and commitment from a different perspective and depth.
During your travels you can follow the simple tips outlined above for instant results. If you need additional more advanced support and help please contact me for some coaching sessions (310) 202-1610. I would be happy to assist you.
© 2007 Dr. Cindy Brown
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