Summer had arrived, and with it came many opportunities to dust off the snowy old branches of an upstate New York winter–just in time to make way for the new life and lush green of summer playdays.
It had been a tough winter for Bob and Cheryl. Nearly 25 years of marriage had strained the rigging, so to speak. They both wanted to weather the storm, but weren’t sure if they actually had the staying power.
For a number of years they had talked about learning to sail, but it was just one of those things that never happened. And now, with their marriage in trouble it began to sound like Don Quixote’s dream.
As the days slipped off the calendar one by one, they hung in there—through the storms, willing their marriage to work.
In an attempt to put things between them on a good path, they decided to go on a second honeymoon. The money came from somewhere, and they decided on their destination. As Bob was online to book the trip, a chance email from a relative mentioned a sailboat that was for sale. Like a thunderbolt, Bob suddenly realized that they could actually buy a sailboat for the cost of their trip! He launched this idea to Cheryl, and she bought right in. They suddenly had a clear vision and a shared project.
They learned everything they could about sailing with all the energy and excitement of setting up a nursery for a first-born child. Feeling like newlyweds, they signed up for a sailing course. Each weekend they tromped the docks looking for “their” boat, discussing features and weighing one boat against the next. When “marriage” got tough, they could retreat into keeping course with the shared passion for their “new baby”.
When they finally bought their much-welcomed sailboat, she needed a lot of attention. Scrubbing, fixing her accouterments, and keeping her in good shape–they loved this shared summer vision! In addition to working on the boat, they also sailed every chance they got. And as they shared this project, they learned alot about themselves and their partnership.
A boat has a way of demanding that you discuss things that you might try to put off under different circumstances. The crew must be interdependent. There is no place for sitting back and not saying what you need to say. Or for taking over and insisting that everything be your way. This boat, this baby–their shared project–helped Bob and Cheryl learn how to relate to each other all over again. And summer breezes make them smile. At the time Bob wrote about his experience with Cheryl, they were thinking of names and leaning toward Resilient.
If you are sometimes tempted to think your marriage is at the end of the road, take another look. Consider the possibility that you might discover a new shared passion. Perhaps you can learn to see life from a different perspective and deepen your understanding for the one who stands beside you. Grab a breath of fresh air! Summer is here—make the most of it!
Whatever it is you choose to share–may your boat float!
You can read more if you can manage to snag an old copy of the Good Old Boat magazine, September/October 2008. Look for ‘Riding out a marital storm’. or check out www.goodoldboat.com