Wanderlust and Love: How a Month Abroad Shaped our Marriage

Jean Brault, certified Gottman Seven Principles Leader, shares how travel benefits entrepreneurial couples and helps you fall in love all over again.

Brian and I recently returned from a month in Greece. We enjoy travel, but the biggest takeaway from the trip has nothing to do with fantastic food or beautiful sights (though there was plenty of both!).

The biggest benefit is this: Travel makes our marriage stronger.

For each of the last four years, we’ve been intentional about living and working for a month in another country. (Ireland, Italy, France, and Greece so far.) Each year, we return refreshed and reconnected.

If you’re in a committed relationship, traveling together is one of the best ways to strengthen your bond. Whether it’s a short getaway or month abroad, travel can help you…

  • build trust
  • resolve conflict in healthy ways
  • create a shared identity
  • shape new routines
  • and fall in love all over again

Planning the Trip

First things first. How do we go abroad for a month each year?

Well, flexibility is one of the perks of being an entrepreneurial couple.

While we do take some days off to recharge, we continue to support our clients from afar. We have a remote team, and Brian schedules his in-person commitments around travel.

Finally, we’re empty nesters, so when we’re back home, our time with adult children and grandchildren is even more special.

Keep in mind that you and your partner can explore new horizons together in a shorter time frame. And you can choose planned experiences so that you can basically just pack and go.

We love to make this easy for other entrepreneurial couples by hosting programs designed especially for them. We’ll be facilitating Couples Retreats in the Rocky Mountains and in Tuscany in the fall of 2024.

Here are the five big benefits Brian and I have experienced from traveling together.

Travel Builds Appreciation and Trust

As we find ourselves navigating narrow streets, negotiating with street vendors, and attempting new languages, we rely on each other. And we understand and appreciate each other’s strengths more and more.

Need to strike up a conversation and get directions? I know Brian’s outgoing nature lets him connect quickly.

Need to stay calm and steady in a confused moment? Now, we’re in my area of strength.

When you travel together, you get to see your partner shine. And they get to see you excel.

You’re a team. You have each other’s back. You build trust.

Especially when things don’t go as planned…

Travel Gives You Practice Resolving Conflict

Because it’s not all smooth sailing. Travel exposes you to uncertainty, discomfort, and opportunities for growth.

Sometimes you’re on the same side in conflict with others. Perhaps the airline lost your luggage or the room has a leaky faucet. You work together to communicate and problem solve.

Sometimes you’re in conflict with each other. We’ve found that these conflicts are often “low stakes” situations.

  • Which trail should we take?
  • Do we visit the history or art museum first?
  • For dinner, do we share an authentic Greek salad for the 10th night in a row? (Brian says heck yeah, I like to mix it up a little.)

No matter which option you choose, you’re in for some kind of adventure. The pressure is off.

You get practice seeing each other’s perspectives and finding middle ground. And you get better at handling conflict when the stakes are higher.

Mishaps also have a way of becoming great memories.

Travel Creates a Shared Identity

Remember that time we got lost in the mountainous backroads of southern France?

Or when the waiter misunderstood your broken Italian and brought us a completely different dish that turned out to be a new favorite?

These memories are stories we enjoy retelling. They strengthen our shared identity as a couple.

As you immerse yourself in local culture, taste unusual dishes, and celebrate the view after a long hike or bike ride, you create lifelong memories and inside jokes to fill the pages of your love story.

Travel Helps You Craft New Patterns

In relationships, we often fall into mundane routines and default ways of communicating. Are those patterns working for you? Step out of them to find out.

On a trip, everything changes. I enjoy waking up to unfamiliar sounds, like church bells, street vendors, or the distant hum of a Vespa. There’s no room for stale routine as we explore ancient ruins, sip wine at sunset, and walk holding hands under starlit skies.

You have space to be creative and spontaneous.

Maybe you decide to hike that extra mile along the coastline trail.

Maybe a conversation with a local couple leads to an impromptu olive tasting.

Or you decide to join a cooking class with three generations of Greek women and learn to roll grape leaf dolmades. (We even got to enjoy a raki toast with the grandmother on that trip!)

These raw, unscripted moments can be a spark for new and intentional ways of being together.

Travel Lets You Fall in Love All Over Again

Picture this: you’re strolling through ripe grapes in a vineyard in Tuscany, hand in hand.

Or you’re sitting together on a cabin porch at dusk, watching the sun set over the mountains.

These moments – framed by beautiful landscapes – rekindle romance.

Away from the daily grind, you notice the little things. The way your partner’s eyes light up. Their kindness to strangers. The way it feels to laugh together and talk late into the night.

Travel lets you fall in love all over again, deeper and more profoundly.

Where Will You Go Next?

As you head home again, the best souvenir will be a relationship that is stronger than ever.

And if you decide to join us for a Couples Retreat, you’ll also take home new skills and tools from learning workshops designed to help you grow together.

As Rumi once said, “Travel brings power and love back to your life.”

Where will you go together next? ❤️

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