As you may know by now, Pam and I love to travel. As we move about this new pandemic-induced world a bit more, we will be adding some travel content to our website as well, so be on the look out for that.
Anyway, yesterday, Pam and I were working on a project that had us reflecting on one of the earliest trips that we took together, a trip that taught us much about continuing to nurture our new relationship.
This was probably our third trip together (“trip” being measured as one that requires a flight). It was our first international trip together.
Back then, we were really traveling newbies. We’d done a little here or there; almost all domestic. To that point, our “international” travel experience were to Mexico and Canada, and only one time to each.
So, when we planned a trip to St. Martin (St. Maarten if you nasty), we were going to be taking the plunge in the international waters together. This was about 10 years ago.
We thought we had given ourselves enough time — hours, even. But when we arrived to the airport, we were smacked in the face with unsightly long lines at the check in counter.
Remember, this was more than 10 years ago. So there were none of those cute and very useful machines to facilitate the check in process. No adorable little kiosks to scan your passport and print off a bag tag. You had to rock it old school: stand in line and wait.
So wait we did. Our local airport, Newark, is one of three airports serving the NYC metro area. All three are international airports on steroids. This is a very diverse area of the country and while that’s wonderful, what it also means is that any number of people from all over the world are criss-crossing through our airports at any moment in time.
This particular morning, families of 5-6 had luggage piled up higher than any NBA player has ever reached. It was slow going to check in even one family.
Pam and I stood in line, passports ready, our lone bags nearby. And we watched the clock tick.
And it ticked. It was ticking faster than the line was moving.
Long story short(er), we missed our flight.
Thankfully, after a run-in with a few unsympathetic desk clerks, we were able to secure a flight that would get us onto the beach a day later than planned.
So why tell you this story?
I tell you this story because, from that ordeal came a lesson for us (and you!).
Yes, yes. Get to the airport early for international flights. We learned that. We haven’t made the mistake since (with a heavy assist from the Gods of Advanced Technology).
But there was something greater to learn from this.
Pam and I had waited in that long line, saw it inch ever so slowly. We watched the clock. We counted people in line. We tried to guess how much longer.
All of those things were red flags. It was a warning that something wasn’t going well.
But we stood there. And waited. We even tried to rationalize why we shouldn’t do something. Anything.
Further, both of us were very concerned. Both of us felt like we should do something.
But we never said a thing to the other until it was too late. Communication, the hallmark of our relationship, even in the early goings, just fell apart.
So we ignored red flags. We failed to act when we knew something was wrong. And we didn’t communicate.
In the end, we wasted time. We lost out on opportunities that might have existed had we taken action. That’s how it goes when you invest time and energy into the wrong things.
From little daily life events like this come lessons for your relationship. Also, from your relationship come lessons that can help you moving through life.
Make sure your life and your relationship are on the same page and moving in the same direction.
Have there been times where life stuff has taught you something about your relationship or your relationship has taught you something about how to live life?