Originally published August 25th, 2012
Have you ever experience “that moment”? You know, the one where you’re ready to ask your wife for something that you just know could go one of two ways, either A) Kind of in your favor with an eye roll or B) Horribly wrong? It’s a fine balance, right? It’s one of those things that you reserve for just the right time and hope for the best. That’s how it is for me every year when I’m planning my annual road trip.
I’ve been extremely fortunate. My wife, for the most part, has always been pretty supportive of my obsession with baseball. Part of it comes from having a really cool wife, which I do, but the other part of it comes down to how and when I make my move. Every diehard baseball fan wants to go to other parks. When you have a passion for the game or its history, there are few things cooler than traveling from state to state, and city to city, to see what the game looks like everywhere else. So this post is for you!
Understand before I start, that this isn’t just for men! These same tips work for the married woman too! It’s also not just about baseball. There are basic fundamentals to convincing your spouse that you traveling away from your family for up to a week or whatever, is a great idea! Simple right? It’s never simple, but it is easier if you follow three basic rules: Timing, Communication, and Reciprocation.
Timing and Communication are almost like their own marriage. If they don’t come together, the one left behind will get mad and have your stuff on the porch when you get home. Think long and hard about when and how you’re going to bring up traveling. One of my first road trips was a few months after my oldest daughter was born. It takes a lot of… well, something, to even consider bringing up a trip like that so soon after a major event. Timing for me is always a balance. If you have kids, it’s not after a long day. Gauge your spouse’s mood when you get home. If the kids are pissed. Pass. If the first thing you wife does when you get home is go upstairs and tell you she needs a minute. Pass. If you get home and the kids are swinging in the backyard and your wife is sitting in a chair reading a book — Execute phase one. It seems pretty obvious, right? Well, we all learn the hard way. Your best chances of getting your spouse bought into your travel schedule is usually after the kids are in bed, during a date night, or after taking care of business… I’ll leave that one to your imagination. Ha-ha.
Communication says “Whoa, don’t forget about me!” Timing is great, but if you don’t go at it the right way, you could be out of luck. Communication starts with planning. Do you have everything mapped out? Do you have contingency plans? You need to be prepared for a potential rejection by having counter offers in place. Start big, but have a fall back. I understand that you want go to New York this year, but you may have to “settle” for Minnesota. You can’t start early enough! Start working on your plans for next year now, that way you can plant seeds during the year. Maybe New York didn’t work out this year, but since you went with Plan B, you can start talking about that trip you’d like to do in New York next year. Remember how I said Communication and Timing were like a marriage? The timing could be great, but if you go at it too strong or aren’t prepared, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Have it mapped out and be ready to talk about it with enthusiasm!
How you “pay back” your spouse is a key to future success! Road Trips are expensive so you’ll have to strike a balance. If you can’t afford to spend that kind of money on your family during their vacation, I’d recommend you chose a different city this year. You don’t want your road trips to be something that your spouse or your kids resent. Reciprocation is doing things like make sure she gets her chance too. If you’re going on a road trip, encourage your wife to go on one! At the very least, you need to encourage your spouse to get out. Watch the kids when you can so that your wife can meet up for drinks or a movie with her friends. When she sees that you’re not the only one getting time to yourself, she’s going to be more supportive of you going out. Don’t forget your kids either! If you aren’t bringing your kids back souvenirs you’re doing something wrong!
Those things seem pretty basic on the surface, don’t they? They really aren’t. I can’t tell you how many people ask me how I “get away with it”. I’m not getting away with anything, I just follow three basic rules and things generally work out. Have I always won? Nope! But if I were a baseball player, and not just a fan, I’d be hitting way over average.
Some of you may be wondering why my wife doesn’t go with me! Sometimes she does! That’s kind of a “bonus” tip. Ask your spouse where they want to go. My wife had zero desire to go to Cleveland. Sorry, Cleveland. But, she did want to go to New York. Great! Get that buy-in by encouraging your wife to come with you when she wants to! BUT, make it about more than baseball! If your wife is coming with you on a trip to New York, you better take her to more than just Yankee Stadium. (That doesn’t mean you can’t do Yankee Stadium first though! Ha-ha.) Remember too, that every trip can’t be about baseball, even if you want it to be. I will generally alternate my trip lengths each year to coordinate a planned non-baseball trip with my wife.
There are few things cooler than traveling across the United States to watch baseball. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been able to do as much as I have so far, and a big part of that has come down to the three basics: Timing, Communication, and Reciprocation. If you follow those three rules, you’ll be traveling in no time! (And if you get good at it, you’ll even go on more than one a year!)
* NOTE: Doug is available for relationship advice and counseling. Sorry, Doug will not talk to your wife for you. That one is still up to you. *