Onboard, space and privacy are hard commodites to come by, so promptly resolving conflicts becomes even more pertinent.
One time early in our cruising I remember her being at the bowsprit trying to get as far away from me as she possibly could. Being so frustrated by the confines of the lifelines—and apparently by me—she was screaming into the wind at the top of her lungs. Do we now remember what that argument was about? Of course not. It was something silly and, as always, we both got over it.
Fortunately, this is not a frequent occurrence on Serengetti. In fact, living on a boat can bring two people closer together than ever before—and I don't mean just physically. It's the rare moment in your life when with the luxury of time, you can just sit, talk, and discover the inner thoughts of your spouse, without the distractions of your former lifestyle. This is very precious—and hopefully what you uncover will please you.
In a conventional life you have separate jobs, and sometimes different hobbies and interests. You probably spend less than one-third of your waking hours with your spouse. But on a boat, you're together 24 hours a day, every day, rain or shine, and in very close confines.
Once cruising, you'll leave behind most of the usual causes of conflict between couples. Job stress will be gone and if you've organized your finances correctly, money won't be a source of anxiety any more. Even other family-related pressures might be lessened since children are often out of college and running households themselves.
This is where the importance of respect for each other comes strongly into play. Nobody likes to be yelled at or told that they're wrong, especially in the presence of other sailors. Naturally, once under way, there will be a strong learning curve for both partners, regardless of previous sailing experience. Things will happen and it's easy to react by raising voices or pointing fingers, but that's not going to be the best solution for solving the problem and continuing the cruise in harmony.
Yes, once you cast off adjustments usually need to be made by both parties. Full-time cruising is not like any weekend sail or a charter you've done in the past. Every day will not be a picnic. There will be storms and there will be equipment failures. There will also be times when one of you feels you're contributing more than the other, be it boathandling and cleaning up, or standing watches and cooking. But all these things can be worked out and accomplished better as a team. As a result, your relationship will be strengthened.
You won't find a better vehicle than a cruising boat to guide you closer to the wonders nature has to offer. Rocky starts sometimes occur but with a little effort, you'll find your own rhythm and create your own harmony. And, I believe, you'll gain a special insight into the most important person in your life—so that, hopefully, there'll be very little time spent by either of you alone at the bow.
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