"Wait, why are you getting so upset?"
"Because you only listen when I'm upset!"
-- A very excellent excerpt of a recent argument of which we are both immensely proud, as I'm sure you can infer.
Lately Kristie and I have talked a lot about prioritizing travel more in our lives -- a decision which has resulted in planning a big trip to Paris next April to visit my sister Phoebe while she's there studying abroad. Well, we've been daydreaming about it and saving up for it for awhile, but now it feels really concrete as she's been accepted into the program, we've picked our travel dates, and are just a week or two away from buying our plane tickets.
The adventure of planning and scheming has brought out, as I worried it would, some of the -- hmm... -- more type A aspects of my personality. That's a good way to say it, right? I created endless Google docs, Airbnb wishlists, and secret Pinterest boards. I wrote out daily itineraries down to the hour. I researched activities, gluten-free restaurants, and the best time of day to do, well, anything.
And then, a few days before Phoebe got the good news that she'd been accepted to the program, Kristie and I sat down to really actually talk about the specifics of our destinations, travel dates, and details. Things unraveled on my end uhhh pretty quickly. I realized I had started to rely way too much on having everything planned down to the hour. Kristie wanted to do a little more research to see if by shifting the trip a day or two, we couldn't save a little extra money (obviously a good idea) -- but she didn't want to talk about specific dates yet. It was kind of freaking me out.
All of this didn't necessarily come as a surprise. Kristie's and my personalities differ in beautiful, important ways -- and sometimes in ways that provide an opportunity for us to each stretch a little and come to a compromise. Which is what happened the other night. We ended up selecting tentative travel dates with an agreed-upon caveat of "plus or minus 1 or 2 days depending on best flight price."
Both of us came away from the discussion happy, soothed. That the little spat, the push and pull of opinion and need, was over so quickly surprised me. We met in the middle faster and with more fluidity than we ever had before, and were back to Googling average flight prices for a Thursday and gently debating the decorative choices of Airbnb hosts much faster than I thought we'd be.
A few people have asked me over the past year and a half what's changed about our relationship now that Kristie and I are married. And I think that's it. We've gotten so much better at fighting. Every couple, married or unmarried, gay or straight, butts heads and has arguments from time to time. Kristie and I are no different. But ever since we got married, our fights end a lot sooner. I find both of us being kinder, gentler, more open and honest, and more willing to compromise. Because we're married, it feels like less is on the line. Less is put at risk by the occasional argument, because we know we're both in this for the long haul. We know we will both be heard and that we'll each do everything we can to make sure we're both happy at the outcome. It's just...simplified. It's nice.
I'm really happy this is extending to travel for us. We've been getting better at traveling together and are still figuring out each other's strengths and weaknesses -- for example, the idea of finding the best price for a plane ticket based on day of the week makes me want to scream. Kristie is baller at it. Her innate sense of direction? Not so reliable, but I was practically born with a map in my hand.
Preparing for this trip prompts good reminders for me. I don't have to be in control all the time (nor do I want to be). Sometimes I still get scared on flights. We don't always have to spend lots of money to have fun. And as long as we're on this adventure together, I know it'll be a good one.