August 1 is Swiss National Holiday. I was supposed to spend it doing makeup for a wedding but my husband asked me to decline the gig. He wanted to go somewhere because it is rare that he has a long weekend.
We checked out the flight prices and found the ones departing from Zürich exorbitant. The idea of flying from Basel through low-budget airline Easyjet came to mind. Rates were of course much more affordable. We just had to take a train from Zurich to Basel which was a bearable one hour ride. We chose amongst the following destinations: Spain, Tuscany, Poland, and Hungary. We settled on Hungary because 1) We both haven’t been there [It will be my 34th new country to visit and his 37th.] 2) Living expenses over there are relatively cheaper and 3) It is big enough to explore for 4 days and 3 nights.
I can say that in the year and a half that we have been married, this is the first trip that we planned TOGETHER. There was division of labor. We debated maturely about the pros and cons. We equally shared expenses. We totally had teamwork and held each other accountable for making the trip a success. Our past trips were either just planned by him or by me individually. This was the first time that I sat down and showed him AirBNB and hotel options and we both chose which deal we liked best (We ended up staying at the 4-star Marriott hotel for the price of a small AirBNB!). He booked the hop on hop off tour while I reserved the cab that would pick us up at the airport. I must admit that I usually enjoy planning things alone and even doing things my way more. But I couldn’t deny that this was a really good exercise for our partnership.
I guess that teamwork is something that we really had a hard time attaining ever since we got married because we are both strong individually and we tend to make narcissistic decisions all the time. It’s funny because the more I think about it, the more I realize that I am not built to withstand marriage. The beauty of it though is that regardless of how you were built, in marriage, you will be made to realize that LOVE has the power to change you for the better. The love that God has placed in your heart for your partner has the power to melt your stubborn soul and clear your brain enough to give it space for understanding, new ideas, and refreshing experiences. It’s so easy to say to your spouse, “No, let’s do it MY way.” But it’s so much more rewarding to be able to extend yourself further, with ego brushed to the side, and say “Ok, what is it that we both want and that we both will enjoy?” Or better yet, “Let’s do your thing first and then let’s do mine.”
I normally talk about what exactly I did on trips but I felt like it’s more fitting to share about this very personal experience because I like reading back what I wrote after a few months. I like marking moments and emphasizing learnings. In this trip, I learned to step back a bit and make my husband lead the way. I made him win a few more battles this time. Like the day he all of a sudden decided that instead of going to the Széchenyi Thermal Baths on a Sunday as planned, he felt like doing it right after our bus tour that same Saturday. A part of me was starting to get annoyed that he would go off-tangent but I find that I would really not lose anything if I gave in to what he wanted. We ended-up enjoying the baths more because the sun was not too strong anymore. Good call.
Marriage is a weird thing. My Philosophy professor once said that all relationships are doomed to fail. It’s because, as philosopher Martin Heidegger pointed out, what makes you drawn to each other for the first few stages are the moments of “thaumazein” or “wonder”. When you still think that the other is so beautifully strange and interesting. And then you get to spend time together. You get to share more information about one another. And then all of a sudden, your partner feels all too flawed and familiar to you already. There’s no sense of wonder anymore. And so there’s nothing else that keeps you drawn to each other. And that’s when it starts to dwindle. And so he says that the key to a lasting marriage is to keep surprising each other. Keep making yourself interesting. Keep learning and sharing things. Shake up the routine. Don’t get fixated on the same things. Stop yourself from fighting over the same mundane details. Talk about things you have never discussed. Challenge each other to evolve. Maybe this is why we travel as a couple. To be able to see new things. To be able to talk about newer experiences. To watch each other go out of our comfort zones and beam with pride as we thrive.
Marriage is a weird thing because the law of man and the law of God bind you together for life regardless of feelings and circumstances. Yes, it is weird BUT it can also be so beautiful. We always hear people joke about how marriage can be tough and how it can feel like a prison cell. But we never really emphasize the beauty of that suffering. That in those moments of suffocation, of conflicts, of having to sacrifice your own wants and needs for the other, is when true and genuine LOVE shines through. And it’s the kind of love that an unattached person will never really grasp. And that’s what makes marriage important, necessary, and sacred. It brings out that kind of love that is deeper than all the other levels of love that you have ever felt while you were not yet bound and tied to this one person. Marriage is weird, tough, and exhausting but it can truly be a beautiful and meaningful thing. My friend just recently got married and in her vows, she said that “I will never forget that this is a once in a lifetime kind of love.” What she doesn’t know yet is that it is not even the rarity of it that makes the marriage kind of love special. It’s the depth and magnanimity of it.
I joked while we were walking across the Chain Bridge atop the River Danube that I am admittedly the Buda (coz I’m chubby!) and he’s definitely the Pest! But just like Hungary’s Buda, Pest, and Obuda, we were united by fate and all we gotta do is build bridges of love each time we feel like we are too different or far apart.
Here’s our travel video:
Until our next adventure,