January 20, 2014

Shaking Up Our Marriage (A Little)

I guess there are plenty of ways of shaking up a marriage, some illegal, some unethical, some immoral, and some just plain stupid. That's not where I am going with this post. After 37 years of marriage, Betty and I remain firmly committed to each other. Neither of us has even a shred of doubt about our marriage promises, a single second of lack of trust, or any fear of a shock so great to make divorce even remotely possible.

The shake up we have agreed to is in how we spend some of our time together. Being human, we all tend to fall into habits and patterns of behavior. After all these years, a married couple that doesn't get stuck in a bit of a rut is probably a little unusual.

If you remember my posts about taking a Gap Year  and the concept of a Best Before Date  approach, I was wondering if a real departure from our lifestyle was in order. After lots of discussion and looking at the reality of what we could do and wanted to do, Betty and I decided on a few moderate steps to inject some freshness into our routine and see where it leads us:


1) Once a week will be date day. This is something we used to do but have let it slide for the past few years. Now, every Sunday afternoon we pick a day and an event to go to together in the coming week. It could be a movie, a visit to an art gallery, a picnic in a park we haven't been to before, or simply sharing an ice cream while we people-watch at a large, outdoor shopping area near our home.

2) Once a month we will do something that is a little different or out of our comfort zone. A good example is a glass blowing class we are taking together next month. It may mean attending a concert with music we normally don't listen to or seeing an edgy art film. Maybe a horseback ride is in order, or going on an RV trip to a place in the middle of nowhere with no electricity or water service, just to see how long we can rough it with just what we can carry. Whatever it is, we will try to spread our wings a bit. 

3) We will extend this summer's RV trip by two weeks, so we are gone from the heat for a full 75 days. That will be new experience for us; our longest trip to this point has been a little less than one month.

4) In 2015 we will schedule RV trips and time home in a pattern of 2-3 months on the road, 2 months home to recharge and spend serious time with family, then 2-3 months back on the road. If our budget permits and everyone stays healthy (primarily my  nearly 90 year old dad) that will mean around half the year exploring the country. We are thinking of trips to the mid Atlantic and Smoky Mountains regions, New Orleans and Florida (all the way to Key West), and the Pacific Northwest as destinations. To complete the year smaller trips to places like the Palm Springs Film Festival, and plenty of time in the White Mountains of Arizona will be added.


BTW, this blog has been picked as one of the top 50 RV blogs by Florida Outdoors RV, a major dealer in the southeast. I appreciate the nod to my efforts and invite you to check out the whole list here. There are enough RV and travel blogs to keep you busy for months!

5) We are beginning the process of getting our house ready to sell sometime in the next 3-5 years. We will take one room, or one space, like the pantry or laundry room, and put it in ready-to-sell condition. We will block out a minimum of one project per month, two if the spaces are small. Then, when we are ready to make that move, the house won't require such as massive effort to put it on the market.


Maybe I shouldn't classify this as shaking up our marriage. Maybe it is more like gently stirred. But, whatever the label, Betty and I are excited by the new look to our calendars and what 2014 will bring.

28 comments:

  1. you will enjoy your travels...we go for up to 2 months each year and when I retire in August we are looking forward to our two months on and two months off RV travels...when you come out to Oregon coast make sure you stop off at the Adventure Coast...Coos Bay to the California border..beautiful parks, plenty of great RV places and great crabbing and fishing...love your blog...it has been so helpful for my transition to a satisfying retirement...time to join my husband on this great adventure...

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    1. Betty and I enjoy the Oregon coast tremendously but generally from Newport northward. Next time we will set out sites farther south. Thanks!

      2 months gone and 2 months home, rinse and repeat...I like it.

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  2. ALL your ideas sound awesome! I am hoping when we learn how to RV and get our feet wet with small trips that we will eventually volunteer at state parks or nature centers and get to stay a month and get a free RV space,etc ..I love the idea of being a Lighthouse Guide in Oregon though it looks like those spots are hard to capture..still--having new plans and dreams is always invigorating!!! I love having a home base but I'd like to explore some of th places you and Betty will be going in your RV this summer! Will want trip reports!

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    1. You will get them.

      Your move from the Phoenix area to the mountains up north will shake things up, too.

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  3. We've always shaken things up with a move, and this year will be no different. That's about all the shaking I can stand for the time being. But I do agree with setting up a date day/night. It's a good idea, no matter where you are.
    You guys are really mixing things up! Enjoy every moment!
    b

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    1. Yes, a move to Cape May will keep you hoping for quite some time.

      We have discovered a 6 week series of Friday night events at the Tempe Art Center about 30 minutes from our home. From 5 -7pm a musician plays light pop or soft jazz to help listeners unwind. Free appetizers are available (rather substantial fare) while listening. Then, a walk along Tempe Town Lake while the sun sets and after dark is magical. and romantic.

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  4. Starting this past fall we have had Deb's Mom living with us. It makes it hard(er) for Deb to enjoy her retirement, so we have found an adult day care center that looks good in town, and will have go there for one or two days per week. This will become more important for us when the spring arrives, since I expect to take off from work on some of those days so Deb and I can go motorcycling. It will make for a nice break on top of our date nights, and it helps to spice things up.

    We were talking last night about how we shook things up when we moved to TN 3-1/2 years ago. We are planning on a trip to Ecuador or Panama sometime in the future, not strictly for travel, but to see about perhaps our next home. Now that would be shaking our marriage up a bit, and might be a lot of fun as well. There are lots of options big and small to keep our marriages interesting.

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    1. Sounds excellent, Chuck. A friend and his wife sold off everything and moved to Peru for two years before returning to the States. They say it completely changed how they view life and its opportunities. A move by you and Deb to Central or South America would take you quite a ways from your upstate NY and Tennessee roots and probably have the same impact.

      I may ask you to tell us more about your experience with the adult day care center sometime soon. I have been asked to write about that subject as part of a larger look at care options.

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    2. Happy to, Bob. My wife, who was a social services case worker for >30 years, working primarily with the elderly, would be a great source. I'll definitely get her input when you get closer.

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  5. What resonates with me is that you & Betty collaborate on your plans. You pay attention to the practicalities as well as your relationship. It looks to be a plan for a satisfying life.

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    1. We do a better job of collaboration. That wasted always the case: I chose and Betty followed. That was a mistake that we have started to correct (though I still push my agenda a bit too often).

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  6. All of that sounds very good for both body and soul . . . although I, myself, don't like to be away from home for that long. (Hey, maybe it's time to get out of my comfort zone for a change!)

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    1. We all have the right mix for our own personalities and needs. However, a shakeup every now and then might reveal a "mix" you like you hadn't considered before!

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  7. I loved this Bob...but then I love change! I think you are going to have more fun than ever! Wrote a piece today including a link to your post about getting the health care plan.

    Barbara

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    1. I'll look for the piece, Barb. Thanks!

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  8. Great suggestions, Bob. In particular, I like the first two. Prioritizing time together is critical to a healthy, vibrant relationship. And getting out of one's comfort zone helps one feel alive. I have to admit, however, that unlike you and many who post here, I don't think I could adapt to the RV lifestyle. It's not that I'm anti-social and wouldn't like meeting new friends at RV parks. It just seems like so much *work*. Maybe the freedom that it represents is worth the work involved in driving, setting up, breaking down, etc. I don't know. I will further admit that I used to poke fun at RV enthusiasts, but now, knowing the good folk on this blog site the way I now do, I will refrain from doing so and freely acknowledge that my tepid enthusiasm for the RV lifestyle is more an indictment of me!

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    1. I never saw myself as being an RV person until I decided to try it. Yes, there is some work involved but we are developing a workable system: stay one night at a particular location, then move to the next place down the road for at least 2, usually 3 nights. This allows you to truly relax and enjoy the location. During this summer's trip there will be a few times we are staying a full week in one location. What is really not a lot of fun is to drive too many hours per day and change locations every night. That is expensive and tiring and defeats the purpose of having an RV.

      Just like in any other social situation there are great RV people and those who I wouldn't normally choose to spend a lot of time with. But, overall, the people we meet are friendly and hospitable.

      RVing isn't for everyone, but that is good. The best campgrounds would be way too crowded!

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  9. We never thought about an RV either till lately. We visited a campground where 6 families were camping in their Casitas so we checked them out as they are very easy to tow with a regular SUV and supposedly hardly any work at all to put up and down.. also good gas mileage.. never say never! I don't think I could live in one full time but I am getting excited about the idea of perhaps parking right on the Rogue River in Oregon for a week, or the Mendocino coast .. I am finding this last few years I am surprised ,in a good way, by the different experiences Ken and I are exploring.. just goes to show how much LIVING there is to do!!

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    1. I can't us ever being full timers, either. That is just as restrictive as staying in one place all the time.

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  10. Hi Bob! I enjoyed your insights on shaking your marriage up - a little! How best to travel is something my husband and I are grappling with at the moment - do we camp, RV, caravan or stay at motels, B and B's etc! There seem to be pros and cons for each!

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    1. If you can, try each option on various trips. We like to stay in B & B because of the uniqueness of each one and meeting new people. We also enjoys RV travel, and at times staying in a nice resort. Different trips are best matched to different choices.

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  11. Not at the point of shaking yet. It is good to see some of the ideas on how to do it.
    Bon Voyage!

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  12. OK--we begin to worry when you do not post!!!! :-)

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  13. woops--sorry-- looking for Wednesday post! :-) Did I forget your new schedule??

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    1. No problem! Yes, I post fresh content on Monday and Thursday.

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  14. I TOOK THAT PICTURE! That was such a wonderful day!

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    1. Yes you did! Cannon Beach was fabulous that day.

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