Couples naturally do things together and those things sometimes take them far from their respective homes. Whether that be one person traveling to see the other, meeting each other halfway, or taking an overnight trip, the challenge of traveling together while dating and keeping chaste can be daunting.
Traveling together well as a Catholic couple was something my now-husband and I had to constantly keep in mind while we were dating and engaged. We were long distance until we were married. There’s a lot of travel tips I wish I would’ve known then. Looking back, there are some situations and choices that I would do over differently.
It can be really hard trying to make heads or tails of traveling together as a couple! If you’re trying to figure out how to make that trip work out, here are four ways to save your sanity and your relationship’s chastity and still take trips together.
1. Get separate rooms when possible
Two rooms seems like a buzzkill and a budget-kill, but it is the best way to make sure neither of you get caught up in the heat of the moment. Separate rooms also means that both of you get to have some personal space. Remember, you’re not married yet, you don’t have to share everything. Dating is about getting to know another person to see if you’d make good partners for life, not necessarily playing at being life-partners already.
If budget is a concern or there’s only one room available or whatever else might make it impossible to get two rooms, sleep in separate beds. Again, this will still give you some personal space and a physical separation helps our brains and hearts to keep an appropriate emotional distance.
If you run out of options and only a one bed room is available, make plans to switch off sleeping in the bathtub. No joke! Respecting each other’s boundaries physically and emotionally shows that you care for yourself and your partner and about what might come of the relationship. If either of you are too tall for the bathtub, call housekeeping for an extra set of sheets and blankets and hunker down on the floor.
The important takeaway here is to know yourself and know your partner enough to understand each other’s boundaries and how to respect them.
2. Have some personal time built in for each of you
Even though you’re a couple, both of you are individual people and you still need personal time to grow as a person. Setting this precedent while dating will make it easier to keep up if you do get married. It’ll be even more important then!
My mom once told me that you have to bring yourself into a relationship. You can’t bring yourself if you don’t know who you are. Making time for yourself while traveling together helps you keep discovering yourself.
While you’re investing in yourself, you’re also giving your partner the opportunity to discover him or herself, too. Plus, coming back together and discussing what you did or what you learned over dinner makes things extra special and adds a layer of fun to conversation.
3. Keep a curfew
It is tempting to treat traveling together like a sleepover, but this isn’t always the healthiest thing for your relationship. Keeping a curfew helps reinforce limits appropriate to the stage of your relationship. Keep in mind that those limits can vary from couple to couple.
If you live far away from each other and one of you is out to visit the other, you might consider a later curfew. This extra time not only makes the trip worth it, but also can help hold you over until the next time you see each other in person. If you see each other regularly and are going on an overnight trip together, a slightly later than usual curfew would probably work well.
If you’re sharing a room, remember to set a lights out time, too. Sometimes being disciplined is hard to cope with. However, it gives you the strength to persevere in other areas of your relationships and life, too. It’s not always fun, but discipline and fortitude are always good.
4. Plan the trip (and your boundaries!) together
This is a trip for both of you, so both of you need to help plan it. Both you and your partner get a say in where you’re going and what you’ll do while there. Both of you decide on the rooming situation without pressuring the other. Also, both of you should plan to go outside of your comfort zone once on the trip by doing an activity you have zero interest in, but your partner does or trying a new type of food or similar.
I’m not saying go outside of your moral boundaries! That’s different and that’s allowed to be a hard and fast line you draw.
Likewise, both of you get to opt out of things that either just don’t interest you or scare you. When I travel, or me, I will always opt out of jumping out of a plane. Bungee jumping? I might do. Free-falling from the sky? Count me out. This will help you set your boundaries and give you an opportunity to see how your partner handles hard boundaries, and vice versa.
If you’re finding that the destination you’ve chosen doesn’t offer much that both of you would like to do together or caters to one person’s likes much more than the other’s, consider choosing a different location. If it’s somewhere you can’t change (for instance, if you’re going to a wedding together), really try to find mutual things there.
Traveling together as a couple can be challenging, but the lessons and discoveries you’ll make about yourself and your partner are worth it.
What’s been your favorite trip you’ve taken with your significant other?
What’s a dream destination you have in mind for your next trip?