Updated: Aug 27, 2020
You don't need me to spout out the stats to know that relationships are difficult. Marriages dissolve, friends grow apart, families split and parents run away. I overheard this a few days ago. "Do you know what the biggest cause of divorce is today? Marriage." Chuckle chuckle. I don't want to focus on the negative, however, because there are things that help. Travel can be one of them.
Sandy and I are about to happily celebrate our anniversary. (Feel free to send lots of gifts.) In so many ways we are still new to the whole marriage thing and yet according to many we are veterans - sadly. And it does not stop there. In fact just last night, I was watching a recording of Ravi Zacharias, a well known and respected Christian apologist who said that his primary regret is that he cannot turn back time 30 years to spend more time with his children. Sound familiar?
The key is time. Relationships of all sorts like friendships, marriages, and families take time. Often things get in the way. They may be necessary tasks like doing the laundry and cooking dinner or even a "good" activity such as volunteering in a community service organization and yet they have the potential to all add up to a busy life without any time to stop and spend with those we love. Over years this can breed resentment and frustration. So what do we do to grow strong, healthy relationships and create lasting memories we can cherish?
I would suggest three things that will help make a strong relationship.
1. Recognize that relationships are tough and take work. Dr. Phil has a handy dandy "Relationship Health Profile Test" to help get you started in checking the health of your relationships.
2. Decide that you are not willing for your relationships to suffer.
3. Make the time (notice I did not say 'find the time') for those people with whom you have a relationship and want to build a better one. Health Magazine starts "29 days to a Healthier Relationship" with the the encouragement to "try something new together".
Grow closer to your family. Shared experiences.
Travel helps us to create new memories with those we love. Part of what makes those memories so special is that they are shared. I have the pleasure of traveling the world and have done a number of things on my own. I visited Iceland a few months ago and had a wonderful time by myself, however, there is something special about experiencing a new place with someone you care about.
It never truly sunk in for me as to how travel can directly affect someone's relationships until a few months ago when I traveled to Bermuda with my dad. Never having made a journey with just the two of us, I did not know what to expect. Two things happened, one expected and one not.
This was a first experience for him. He had never been on a cruise before and had never been outside of the US other than going to Canada to meet my in-laws a few years ago. We talked, entered into the most manly of sports - the beanbag toss, and watched the waves while the stormy surf pounded against the black rocks jutting into the sky. We created some great mem