Q: My fiancé and I are very different people. In life, he prefers to play things by ear and have a lot of free time; I am a hardcore planner and prefer to have all of my time scheduled and regimented (even if I “schedule” time to unwind and relax). He loves the snow, and cold, and rain, and mountains, and I love swimming and the beach and sun. Usually we make a pretty good balance to each other, but not when it has come to planning our honeymoon.
We are planning on taking a rather expensive and long honeymoon, and while we’ve enthusiastically agreed on touring an international region, we greatly disagree on the fundamentals of what our travel should look like. He wants to just book flights, and figure everything else out when we get there, which freaks me out to no end. He feels trapped if we have money tied up in making hotel reservations and tickets for day activity plans. I feel uncomfortable and insecure not knowing where I am going to sleep from night to night or what the plan is for the next day, and would love to have our hotels pre-arranged. I’ve even given a little in his direction and told him I would not plan specific daily activities (which I am inclined to do), and we can just pick from a laundry list of possible things to do when we get there. It has become clear that neither of us wants to travel in the fashion that the other prefers.
I’m not sure how to reach a point where we are both happy with the honeymoon plans we are making (or lack thereof). Right now it feels like we both want to go on completely different trips, and neither of us will be happy with any middle ground. I will still feel uncomfortable with leaving some places without a hotel booked, and he will still feel trapped into being a certain place at a certain time with only some of the hotels reserved. How do we find a compromise that still feels like the honeymoon we both have been (individually) dreaming about? Should we just scrap these plans and start all over with something entirely different where we just stay at one destination (which would again, only satisfy one of us due to our diversity of climate preferences)?
—How Are Honeymoons Sweet?
The only way to really compromise would be what you just nixed—plan parts, but don’t plan other parts. Or similarly, book the first leg of the trip and then decide a few days out on the next, from week to week, so your schedule has some flex but doesn’t leave you hotel-less.
If those options would leave you both mostly miserable instead of each kind of pleased, why not skip the travel this time around and just stay home? Hopefully you’ll have other opportunities to head to another continent, and you can take turns sucking it up for the duration of one short trip for each another. Who knows, maybe with time you’ll even learn to enjoy one another’s travel styles. Or, you’ll find you like traveling alone! But your honeymoon isn’t the time for both of you to be irritated. It’s your time to wholly de-stress and enjoy one another. (If you remember, I have some pretty strict ideas about how important it is to relax right after the wedding.)
Compromise is inherent to a successful marriage, it’s true. But there’s also the choice to just plain opt out of some arguments. Figuring out this marital trick is almost more important than the compromise angle. If there’s something that gets between the two of you and causes constant conflict, find a work-around. Take the problem out of your lives. You fight about chores? See if you can hire a cleaning service. You don’t like the same food? Prepare your own meals.
In this instance, that means you can delay those travel plans and hunker inside with snuggles (and no bickering).
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