While I can’t make any claims to degrees in marital counseling, I have learned something about RV relationships in these few months my hubby and I have been full-time RVing. This is what I’ve learned, based on observations of couples of all ages at RV parks and campgrounds: they tend to have pretty close relationships. I know…it’s not true of all RVing couples. No doubt there are generators blocking out the sounds of folks pecking each other to death inside RVs. However (and admittedly lacking statistical proof), I still think couples who RV or camp tend to stay together, have more in common with each other, and actually like each other more than most. Here’s why:
• If you are RVing or tent camping, as in moving around different parts of the country, planning new activities regularly, and constantly discovering new horizons, you will have something to say to each other. You almost have to! You’re involved with each other; you’re engaged with each other. You are a team.
• If you both see a little herd of deer pawing and snorting outside your RV window, you’re sharing something that creates a memory; a memory born of a shared experience between the two of you, and perhaps your children or grandchildren. Not that rolling over and looking at the wall you’ve seen 8, 487 times doesn’t create memories. Maybe for some…but I’m betting, not for most.
• RVing and camping require that you support and help each other. You often discover you truly need each other, as in “Will you help me carry these bags to the Laundromat?” or “Will you crank that thing while I raise the awning?” The same person who wouldn’t notice a spouse carrying loads of laundry though the house may see things differently, watching that spouse hump a ton of laundry down three RV steps, stagger to the RV Laundromat in the rain, with a shady character lurking near by. I think there’s something in everyone that responds when we know we are needed. RVing and camping allows you to need each other, just as you once did, perhaps long ago.
The couple relationship often takes a back burner to almost everything. However, when you’re barreling across the desert in your RV, trying to avoid a dust storm boiling your way, your spouse or partner might start to look exceedingly dear. He or she is the only partner and friend you have in those moments. RVing and camping create opportunities to realize that when push comes to shove, you’re part of a team. And you both matter. I don’t know why, but sometimes we can love people more and better by watching their faces light up across a campfire, or playing cards with them listening to the rain hammer bullets into the the RV roof.
We all know RVing provides opportunities for irritation as well as closeness (you should have heard the couple next to us today, as they backed their 5th wheel into a spot the size of my iPad). She made suggestions to him about what he could do with the side mirrors that left permanent scars in my image bank!
But I’ve run my theory past several people we’ve met, and here’s the consensus: couples who camp and RV seem to be close and have strong connections with each other. Perhaps it’s the making of shared memories that provides emotional cement for long-lasting, close marriages. You just don’t forget the deer outside your window and the desert dust storms; experiences that you shared only with each other.
Happy tales, and may you always have things to say to each other in restaurants.