Another question we hear – or see in the eyes of the people we’re talking to – is: What does this journey do with your family and your relationship?
We have not felt ready to answer this question so far, since it was not clear to us either. It is still not clear, it’s still work in progress. Yet, we now realize there is a development and where it could lead to.
Even before the journey started, I (Karin) knew it would be tough to be so close to each other for such a long time. Therefore, I did not only look forward to the trip. Marian, on the other hand, was longing to go as soon as possible, expecting it would be an experience full of joy and adventure.
These two views collided in the beginning. It WAS tough. We had days and whole weeks when we fought and argued with each other. The energy was tense most of the time. Marian thought I should be more involved, help more, have more fun. I thought he should better understand the immense process we were all going through, have less expectations and see that I did my best all day long. We basically blamed the other for the mood and the misery we were in.
The climax was a night when I seriously felt our relationship would break apart, that it would not stand the pressure. We talked long this night. And this night, something happened. The next day felt like a fresh start. We kind of let go of accusations and expectations. Marian and I both accepted how things were for the other one. We took – and gave each other – the freedom to feel what we felt. We allowed ourselves – and the other – to have different desires. Marian accepted that I wanted to be free enough to feel and behave like I wanted to. That I wanted to spend time in Switzerland when I had professional assignments that required my physical presence. I accepted that Marian had felt imprisoned living in the city and the apartment we lived in before. I accepted that I served him as a trigger to feel that he had to do everything by himself.
Being triggered – feeling the feelings – taking the chance to look at old wounds and fears – taking responsibility – owning it: That is the cycle it took for us to consciously overcome the crisis. We know there will be different phases, worse and better times to come. Yet, we now feel that our relationship gets stronger as we go along. This trip is like a steamer for us: unprocessed wounds and issues from the past show up faster and stronger than before. Sometimes, the steam is too hot and the emotions explode. But then again, we also develop in fast forward.
What about Luca and Lou? Well, they mirror us. They are tense when they feel we’re tense. They are relaxed when they feel we’re relaxed. At the same time, they do not seem to be affected too much by the drama. It’s like they understand – not always taking it easy, but always easily forgetting and overcoming even the most dramatic scenes. They know. I feel our children will not have to go through the same cycles of being hurt, being triggered and being healed like we do. Good for them!
And as days go by now, they are more and more filled with joy and adventure.