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Date: 10 December 2013. Reluctant Wives.

More than one time I've heard while ashore some fellow bemoan that his previously encouraging wife no longer wished to take to the seas with him. There are a variety of reasons for this. Of course a guy is going to figure that if he argues, suddenly the Mrs. will realize how fabulously smart her fellow is. She'll also change her mind because he is absolutely correct and she is wrong. Sure...that's going to happen. Men, bless their hearts, just don't "get" it, but not to worry: I've got some ideas that might just help!

That said, one of the first issues I routinely hear about is the husband's effort to persuade said wife by badgering her into compliance/agreement. Tell me gents, how often has an important argument ended via her capitulation? Has she ever had an epiphany because of an argument you two have had?  You've already attempted that tract/tact, so it's time to move on to something potentially more successful.

A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still. Edmond J. Marois.

The above saying (a favorite of my Daddy's) works the same way for ladies, so here are a few ideas that might help the two of you decide if this life is for you:

I'm wondering if you're presenting this as a "forever" event, as in sell out and go on the boat permanently? And if so, I can well imagine the battle you're losing -- it won't fly. Rather than attempt to cruise as a long-term wish/dream, why not test the waters so to speak?

If presented as a "let's take a vacation to XYZ [a warm Caribbean island works well in the winter time] for two weeks" versus "we're going to sell the house and live forever in a boat sailing around the world" you'll probably have more success. Frankly I am concerned that you are getting ready to sink quite a lot of your assets into a boat without ascertaining if it's for you (and her) and whether it will make your lives better or not.

No, a two week trip in an fancy charter yacht will not be a totally accurate look at boat life, but it's better than the fantasy you've built up -- and far less scary than the one she's against. Here are some other considerations:

  • Do you have a history of jumping in with both feet?

  • Does that work well for you?

  • How does your wife adjust to change?

Are you Captain Bligh? If you're a totalitarian Big Boss, of course she's going to be wary of submitting to a tyrant -- even a handsome one, especially if he's at the helm. She'll be far from home. Will she feel safe?

Frankly, I'm on "her side" in this issue. It's time to backtrack. Just because it was a dream doesn't mean it remains so. It is VERY REASONABLE for you to expect her to take a two week vacation with you, even on an expensive charter yacht. During that time you should do your utmost to be casual and fun. Make the experience a good one for her.


Picture yourself enjoying a glass of wine at sunset off
the Morgan ketch Oremae's starboard quarterdeck.

It's not a matter of you changing her mind. It is a matter of her horizons expanding to the possibility that the long ago dream will work today and in the future, at least for a short term. Please do not plan on initially making this boating experience a Forever Event. You both need an escape and choices. It's far easier to enjoy life afloat if you know you have options.

That's my view -- and yes, out here there are some reluctant spouses. A few are along merely to please their mate, but often, if the couple is compatible it works out well for the long term. Invariably however the reluctant one was promised a relatively short term boating experience and came to love it.

While diamonds may be "a girl's best friend," most women know that a life partner who gives them attention, affection, praise and assistance when they need it is a jewel more precious than any stone could ever be. Jeanne Phillips, daughter of Dear Abby.

With yours, I wish you well. Back off though and try a new tactic. Arguing is destined to fail. More ideas will be covered in upcoming articles. Stay tuned.

I'd love to hear of your experiences.
Were you once reluctant and now not so?

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