5 Ways Travel (Particularly Italy) Is a Key Secret to Keeping Our Marriage Happier and Richer
by John and Luisa Rasiej
My darling wife and I have been together for over twenty-nine years, and are approaching our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in a few months. Where do we plan to celebrate that milestone? Italy, of course! I write it that way because travel to Italy has been such a frequent thing that’s made our marriage as luscious as it is — so why wouldn’t we want to celebrate it there?
I’m blessed to have married a woman who grew up in Europe, with parents and lots of other family in the land of La Dolce Vita. That gave us lots of reasons to travel there, and I know the trips we’ve made have given us all sorts of ways to get closer, stay closer and have so much more happiness together.
My appreciation for travel and Italy have grown steadily even though I’m not Italian (as you may have guessed by my name), as well as the travel habits of childhood which were often to spend time with relatives in the same few places not terribly far from home. The trips to Italy have enriched me in so many ways, and have contributed to my appreciation for my wife quite deeply.
Here are five ways that travel can spark a new brightness in marriages:
- The Excitement and Anticipation of Planning a Trip Together Can Bring a Couple Closer
The benefits of a trip don’t begin with the actual travel itself. Rather, months in advance, the two of us get enthralled by possibilities for the kind of trip we want to make. There are always so many options available that we can customize them precisely to what feels ideal for the time. Some have been wide-ranging trips with many different cities, others have had us staying longer times with families and friends. Some have had us visiting the same spots we’ve seen before, others have been embarking to new spots. There’s the fun of visiting a travel agent and leafing through brochures, imagining ourselves going there and getting expert advice.
Even once the trip is booked, there’s an internal countdown that goes on, knowing we’re one day closer to another exciting time. Anticipation is a wonderful spark.
- It Offers a Chance for Each Person in a Relationship to Find Things of Interest Plus Learn Things about Each Other
As a couple we know it deepens any relationship when there’s growth for each person, and in shared experiences too. Doing trips together allows each of us to incorporate things that are of interest to ourselves, plus there’s always time to do something that appeals to the other person. I might like to stay at a major attraction like the Duomo in Firenze and photograph it yet again or sit somewhere and have an Aurum; my wife might enjoy spending part of the same day exploring small side streets to see what hidden gems she may uncover. There’s time to blend both, and that balance allows us to be sure we each get entertained while also making sure our partner is too.
When I see my wife really captivated by something (even if it’s by something that might not have been my cup of tea, it deepens my understanding of her, and it brings me happiness to see her happy. There is something special about seeing something that brings a sparkle to the eye of the woman you love.
- Being Together Outside of Routine Day-to-Day Experiences, So Life and Marriage Doesn’t Get into Too Much of a Rut.
Travel automatically gets you away from your typical surroundings, the kinds of things where life can feel a bit repetitive, taken for granted and at risk of falling into a rut. If every morning starts with going to the coffeemaker and going to the refrigerator, getting the same general breakfast, how refreshing is it to wake up in a completely different situation and heading out to an Italian Caffé to have a cappuccino and a brioche (perhaps filled with gelato if you’re in Southern Italy)? Even something as routine as taking a shower becomes different, since Italian spots often have tubs with a hybrid shower set-up that can become a comical adventure of trying to figure out how to take that shower.
Having a break from lifelong routines shakes things up and allows for some relief from the sense that every day feels so much like any other. That spark keeps things on their toes.
- Travel Puts You Where You Get to Do Appreciated Things that May Have Slipped in Your Marriage or Relationship, like Chivalry
In day-to-day life, there’s often a risk that small things that seemed important at some point fall into disuse. That can happen because we each have lots of things going on in our lives and calling for our time and attention. Perhaps the small things feel less important or inconvenient and we let them slide and then fade. Yet as John Wooden, legendary coach of the UCLA Men’s Basketball Team, stated, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” As a staunch advocate for the value of chivalry, I understand how much the small things done regularly over time will matter in terms of cementing a relationship and deepening my wife’s appreciation.
When traveling, couples frequently are dining out and often going to spots that are a bit more special that what they might visit at home. Those kinds of spots lend themselves to do things that are appreciated, such as holding the door open for your wife or holding out her chair. Standing up when she rises at the table. Yet aside from the classic gestures of chivalry, there may also be other acts of kindness offered each other, such as pointing out an event that might be of interest to the other person, or picking up a souvenir trinket you know will make your spouse smile.
- Travel Can Introduce Practices, Habits and Foods That Can Spice Up Your Life When You Return Home
The enjoyment of a trip together doesn’t have to end with your return home. In our travels, we’ve often discovered little treats that we then started having around the house. In Italy we found cute little devices that let you heat up milk and pump it into a froth to top a morning coffee. We made sure to bring one home so now instead of just adding cream our morning beverages feel and taste more luxurious.
It can also be a new food you’ve tried (or a food prepared a way you’ve never seen). That can become something you learn how to prepare at home, for a special romantic dinner. It can also be recreated by aromas that you recall. For me the smell of Lavazza Coffee brewing was something distinctive about visiting many of the spots we stayed. So at home, I make sure we have plenty of Lavazza in the pantry. The smell of it brewing immediately transports me to Italy and to the happy times I’ve shared with my wife.
And as much as I love Italy, I must confess that my absolutely go-to favorite chocolate was also discovered on a trip to Europe, this time visiting Switzerland, stopping at Migros and tasting Giandor. You can be sure we stockpile some to bring home any time we can.
These five benefits from travel can help any couple that wants to create a deeper, richer relationship, more happiness and appreciation. Italy offers La Dolce Vita, why not incorporate it into your own life?
- Loving Travel
The love of travel was ignited in me by my late father. Although he had grown-up very poor in Southern Italy during the second world war, he loved to explore maps and find new roads to reach a destination. When I moved to the US 30 years ago, traveling to Italy was going home, to my roots, to my language and to my habits.
- Travel Became a Catalyst for Love
On my very first trip to Italy with my boyfriend of three-months, I considered myself his personal behind-the-scene tour guide. Little did I know that seeing me in my natural environment would make him fall deeply in love. With the country and with me. Well, the feeling was mutual, as I have been married to that boyfriend for almost 25 years now!
- Discover More of Your Partner Away from the Every-Day Hustle and Bustle
Traveling together has not only brought us closer, but it has also shaped and enriched our relationship. It has given me the opportunity to discover sides of this man I adore that were previously hidden under the every-day hustle and bustle. I have delighted in exploring new corners of my country with him and sharing childhood stories.
- Understand Different Cultures and Traditions
Getting to know, understand and appreciate the differences as well as the similarities between American sensitivities and Italian ways of being while living in the US and traveling to Italy, have made for a fascinating journey. There are so many facets to this type of discoveries: from the culinary mores, to the expectations of gender roles; from what is considered rude to the expansiveness of time. The personal discoveries made while traveling have helped us grow closer. The adventures experienced together make for an intimate bond that fuels our every day.
In case you haven’t caught on yet, I would highly recommend traveling to Italy. Although I cannot guarantee that you will find love there, I do know that the likelihood of a grand adventure is a given. Particularly if you put yourself in the hands of someone that can tailor your travels to your personality, like an experienced travel agent. You are in for a treat!
About John and Luisa:
We’re a couple who are in love and enjoy letting people see that. We’ve found a way to make things work for us and want to help you rock your relationship the same way. Our backgrounds are different. Luisa was born and raised in Italy and Switzerland, later traveling for the Swiss diplomatic service to posts in Firenze, Beijing and New York. John was born in New York City and spent his youth in the suburbs of the city.
It’s 29 years since we met at a “How to Flirt Class” held by The Learning Annex and we’re soon to celebrate 25 years of marriage. Our friends and colleagues let us know they see something special in our relationship and how we treat each other, often saying it’s something they’d like more of in their own lives. We’re had adventures both together and individually, have interests that sometimes fit and sometimes are different. In other words, we’re two real people, and we know we’re lucky to be together — and we also know luck is the residue of design.
We’ve found ways to keep each other at the top of our priority lists, to know when to give each other space, to develop stronger ways to communicate, to enjoy the fun of traveling together to Europe and particularly Italy and so much more. Follow us onfacebook,twitterandpinterest. Get more ideas on what you can do to keep your relationship rocking atjohnandluisa.com.
© 2015 John and Luisa Rasiej