Once upon a time, I wrote a post about relationships at sea. I tried to anticipate the types of challenges that might come up if we moved aboard a 26' sailboat together. I'm pretty sure 20 plus years of marriage doesn't really prepare you for something like this. But it sure did help. Here are a few of the things I learned about relationships on board during our time cruising in New Zealand.
1. Being the skipper can be stressful (and unfair).
|Maybe we need to trade in pink and blue roles for violet ones?|
Given the fact that Scott is much more experienced than I am when it comes to sailing, the division of labor made sense at the time. But in reality, it just wasn't fair to Scott to have him be the sole skipper of our boat. I didn't feel like I was pulling my weight in terms of our relationship and my contribution onboard and he always felt like he always had to be on duty. On our next boat, we'll have to find a way to be co-skippers to balance things out a bit better.
2. Sometimes when you're grumpy with each other, it's just the weather.
|It's hard to sleep soundly when you're worried about dragging anchor.|
When you're sleep deprived and frustrated because things aren't going the way you want them to, sometimes you take it out on your partner. The trick we learned is to realize that it isn't us, it is the weather. And in the end, the weather always gets better and so do our attitudes.
3. We really do learn differently.
|Math was never my strongest subject in school, but algebra seems like a breeze now compared to some of the stuff I've had to learn when it comes to sailing.|
You can imagine how this works when Scott tries to teach me something, like tying a knot. He shows me how to do it while explaining it, then expects me to try it out right then and there. Generally, I just stare at him blankly and then go down below to read about knot tying and think about it while eating a snack.
4. We both like to travel and explore, but sometimes at different paces.
|Where should we travel to next on our boat?|
So no surprise that when it came to cruising, sometimes I wanted to hang out in a particular anchorage for more than one day and just read a book in the cockpit. Fortunately, we've learned through the years to find the right balance between Scott's full-on mode and my slightly lazier mode.
5. It's important to have fun together (and be silly).
|If you can get your husband to let you take a picture of him with a box on his head in honor of Boxing Day, then you know you have a keeper.|
We wouldn't be married for this long if we didn't have fun together. Otherwise, what's the point? Living on a boat and cruising together can be stressful, so if you can't have fun together and do silly stuff, I don't think you're going to last very long. Overall, we had lots and lots of fun together cruising in New Zealand so we're hoping to get our next boat soon so we can continue our adventures on the water.
What lessons have you learned living with your partner 24/7 on your boat?
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All images via The Graphics Fairy, except for the photo of Scott with a box on his head.