Couples On The Road
Standing in the station in Kuala Lumpur, waiting to board the overnight train to Singapore, I saw them pushing through the crowd. They were looking for certainty, wanting to know.
They looked American, young, fresh organised and uncertain, a couple travelling. He, especially, looked unsure, but she was more determined, pushing forward to find 'the right man'. She held a neat bound volume of tickets and itineraries. This was a well planned 'trip', probably RTW (Round The World, or Return To Work, as I call it). She was in control, she was going to 'sort it out'.
In a long line for security at O'Hare in Chicago, I could see the couple way behind us. They were in their 60's not really comfortable about travelling. They had reached the bottom of the escalator where the attendant was checking boarding passes. They had not checked in yet! They fought through the crowd to get to the check-in line. She led the way, pushing through, he followed, defeated, not caring. She had got it wrong again! The man thinking, "Why won't she just let me do it?"
Travelling brings out the worst in people and puts them on the edge. It stresses them and puts the relationship under strain. Yes, we all know about the need to spend time on our own and the necessity of not taking things personally, but how do you deal with situations where you have to be together, where you don't have the space to be generous and understanding. Security lines, late check-in, missed flights, lost baggage etc. As a man travelling with your partner how do you deal with all this?
Our relationship is based on polarity, essential for electricity between men and women. I believe a man is best when he is in his masculine power. Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I am not sexist. Men are great at being focused and determined and 'solving problems'. Women are great at looking at the bigger picture and stepping in when things don't happen. When a man focuses on his presence and certainty he is able to do what's necessary to guide him and his partner through all the difficulties of travel. When a woman focuses on her trust for the man she backs him up, let's him guide, but keeps an eye on the wider view, the one he may not be seeing.
So how does this work out for us in practice?
We book travel together, splitting the tasks fairly equally. She is good at googling around finding new ways to go, seeking out bargains. I am good at making decisions, arranging schedules and tying it all up. I carry the passports, tickets and itineraries. I set the alarm clock, I get us to the airport in plenty of time. I understand her need for certainty and her desire to be relaxed. I always over-schedule time to allow for delays, taxis not turning up, traffic etc. I allow the time needed for packing and we always have time to spare, time for a relaxing coffee or a bit of shopping.
Trust and Surrender
She now trusts me, she knows that any problem can be dealt with. She lets me be in charge, she allows me to be the man. It works well this way. There are no arguments and we enjoy the travelling.
But she is always looking and thinking, not to check up on me, she long ago stopped doing that, to see what I am missing, the signs telling us where the taxis are, a quicker way through security. Because she doesn't have to think about the detail she can look at other things and because she trusts me I don't take anything she says personally.
This only works if the man takes the initiative and shows the woman that she can trust him. It's not for him to tell her what to do but to show that he can deal with it. She is then able to let go and truly enjoy the experience. If the man doesn't do this the woman just takes over, it's what she needs to do, she needs things to work.
Often then the man reacts to this and gets upset, creating an argument. Eventually he gives up, like the men above, blaming the woman for being a 'control freak'. The truth is he is the one who has given up to avoid a fight!
Exercise in Bangkok
As part of getting to this point we carried out an exercise while in Bangkok. It was an exercise in 'Trust and Surrender'. She said that on looking back she had a
...new found freedom, I am now able to express my love of structure and making arrangements in a much more healthy way. Instead of sticking my nose in and demanding to know what is happening, we talk through our plans and divide tasks between us. On the road, I now read signs for fun! I have found that – through letting go of the need to control, of the fear that is - I actually am more in control of myself than before. I am more balanced, more relaxed, and have gained tremendous certainty in my day to day existence.
In the process I get to be a man! Sounds like a win-win situation, certainly one that is relaxed and enjoyable.
The Way Forward
How can you take this into your life?
As a man what should you do?
- Focus on your Masculine Power, be sure of your own certainty. Know that you are what you feel and that you can do whatever you want to do.
- Just be there for her, no matter what happens. Be consistent and show that you are trustworthy. Never doubt, never be unsure.
- Treat your woman like a Goddess, do everything for her, satisfy all her needs. Don't question at this stage just fully embrace it.
You may feel very strange doing this, that's OK, it is strange. I can assure you it will be so worth it, your relationship will blossom and your travelling will become so much fun.