Why Be Perfect When You Can Be Perfect For Each Other?
My husband likes to record me when he thinks I’m doing something especially brave. Brave being a very generous word for me sticking a pinky toe out of my tiny box of security. Like when I rode a city bike in Montreal.
I’d fought the idea the whole trip, declaring that there was simply “no way.”
“I have no idea what the rules are.”
“I don’t know the city.”
“I’m just not comfortable with it.”
My husband didn’t push. Maybe he knew I’d crack, maybe he didn’t. But Montreal is a big city, and by the time I changed my mind the bottoms of my feet were pulsing like heartbeats and I knew sightseeing was over if I didn’t change my tune.
So I rode the bike, my dress flapping in the breeze, giving glimpses of my underpants to passersby as I pedaled along. It should be noted that when I’m done caring, I’m truly done caring.
“Don’t film me,” I warned. I could see him trying to subtly lift his phone over his shoulder, attempting to capture the moment like a gleeful parent does their child’s first steps. So proud. But definitely going to run into a parked car if he didn’t put his phone away.
We’ve developed an extremely successful travel style in our twelve years of marriage. I am the planner. I love researching destinations. I read local blogs and devour articles and restaurant reviews. I book the flights, the hotels, the restaurant reservations. I buy the train tickets and plot our route and sketch out our itinerary.
My husband is the spirit. He is loose and relaxed. He goes with the flow and when we’re together I get infected with the same ease, the delicious feeling of possibility. Without him, I get rigid and stressed. Without me, well, he’d be fine. But, I plan a damn good holiday so I’m still an asset.
A few years ago we were celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary with a three week trip to Italy. We were in Florence, at the meeting point for our walking tour to go see Michelangelo’s David and no one from the group had arrived yet. I was getting more and more nervous, positive something was wrong, but I knew this was the meeting place.
Except, it wasn’t. We were doing two walking tours in Florence and I’d somehow switched the meeting places. I was descending into a full on panic attack as I pulled up the map on my phone and saw that we were at least six blocks away from the meeting spot and the tour was supposed to start in two minutes.
“We’ll never make it!” I wailed.
My husband looked me in the eyes, calm as ever, and said, “I think we can.”
It was all I needed.
So we ran. We sprinted through the freshly rained on streets of Florence , dodging tourists and yelling ‘scuzi’ as we went. Sliding on the cobblestone streets, I biffed it hard and fell, slamming to the ground on my side, much to the delight of onlookers.
“Are you – “
I was already up and sprinting again.
And we made it. We made it with time to spare. Because, as the tour company explained, wide eyed at our disheveled appearance, they always wait an extra five – ten minutes for stragglers. Well, whatever.
I had a gash on my hand and my leg from when I fell, but relief and exhilaration made me invincible. And of course, my husband took a picture of me, smiling and displaying my bloody, gashed up hand. So proud.
It takes a really solid, trusting partner to hand over the reins when we travel the way he does. He openly admits that I’m better at it and I openly agree that he’s right.
I’ve had to admit my own shortcomings in other aspects of the relationship. A hard one was admitting that he has better taste than me when it comes to design, but he does. When we plan a renovation, we both come to the table with ideas and his are always so much better.
He’s thoughtful where I’m flippant, careful where I’m unrealistic, and he’s original, where I’m tired and cliched.
The research I pour into travelling, he pours into product purchases and reno projects. I’ve tried to match his enthusiasm … and I just can’t. I don’t care. So I hand over the reins.
It’s a hard thing for people to swallow.
“You let him make all the design decisions?”
Yeah. I do. I don’t want my house to look like crap.
He still runs all his ideas by me first in case I want to veto. And I do the same with our travel plans.
Partnership is identifying weaknesses and strengthes. It’s working together. And it’s taking pictures of each other when we’re being brave.