Van Life: How to Keep Your Relationship Running Strong

Regular vehicle maintenance is key to a good trip. Take it from us – breakdowns are the worst. One thing we’ve realized though is that there’s more to maintain when on the road (in life in general?) than just your vehicle. Maybe this one thing in particular is even more important than vehicle maintenance. We’re talking about your relationship.

Check your engine light.

Uhhhh, my partner doesn’t have a check engine light. You’re right. But he or she does have the ability to communicate. So, short of looking for an orange or red light on their forehead, ask ’em how they’re doing. And really listen to the answer.

Caroline & Erin 8

Get N’Sync.

Maybe that means dancing to boy bands. Or head banging to heavy metal. Or harmonizing to the Indigo Girls. Maybe it’s none of the above. Regardless of your taste in music, find a band or a song or an activity that’ll help you and your partner get in sync. Do you need a playlist? Check out our Top Road Trip Songs!

Learn to make up.

This is a skill that can be learned. Take it from me. I didn’t really know how to make up at all. I’m actually still very much a work in progress, just ask Caroline haha. It wasn’t until after one particular fight that I realized I have a lot to learn.Caroline & Erin 5

Pump the brakes.

When you start to feel your blood start to boil, pump the brakes. Not the gas. You might just find that it prevents an accident. (I mean, a fight.) Remind yourself: this is your person! Your true love!

Caroline & Erin 4

Don’t use cruise control all the time.

The perils of setting cruise control and then sitting back is that you run the risk of missing out. On the scenery and in this analogy, on your life. Cruise control is cool, don’t get me wrong. But consider switching off of automatic and taking a little time to explore. Go a little slower, engage in meaningful conversations, see the sights and for gods sake get out of the car and explore!

Keep your tires inflated.

In another life I was a teacher. One time in a professional development meeting my principal told this story about bucket fillers (people who made others feel better) and bucket spillers (people who made others feel bad.) She asked us to think about which one we were and which one we wanted to associate with. The answer is obvious, right? In this case, as it relates to road life, ask yourself if you’re the kind of person that keeps your partner’s tires inflated? Do you compliment them? Do you pay attention to them? Or have you let things go a little flat?Caroline & Erin 2

Look in the rearview mirror.

It’s important to know where you’ve been. And to know what’s behind you. As they say, hindsight is always 20/20. If you’re constantly learning and trying to improve yourself and your relationship then a good bit of self-reflection is necessary. But don’t beat yourself up too much.

Keep your eyes on the road!

We just told you to look in the rearview mirror but honestly, the real adventure is what’s up ahead. Try not to get so swept up in what’s happened that you can’t move on to the next thing. (As I write this I’m trying hard to burn my own advice into memory. By no means am I perfect at ANY of this! Sometimes I think I need this statement tattooed on my arm.)

Ride solo here and there

Alright, so maybe you can’t actually literally go solo since you’re sharing a van. But, try to get a little bit of alone time while you’re on the road. Even if it’s just for a few hours. It feels good to miss your person every now and then but you can’t do that if you’re with each other every second of every day. Not sure how to do that? Check this out: How to Get Alone Time on the Road.

Caroline & Erin 6

Van Life: How to Keep Your Relationship Running Strong Recap

Who knew that vehicles and road trips had so much in common with love and relationships? We certainly didn’t. And we want to put it out there that we’re by no means relationship experts. If anything, we’re learning as we go. Some of the things we wrote about were hard to admit (especially the part about not being good at making up). But if it’s helpful to someone else out there, we figure it’s worth it.

But enough about us. What about you?! Do you have any tips for keeping the romance running high in your relationship?


Published by Erin McGrady

Erin McGrady is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer exploring Asheville and beyond. My work focuses on sharing about LGBTQ safe spaces, camper van life, and the outdoors.

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