Surviving Our First Year of Marriage While Living On a Boat

August 26, 2017 0 comments

365 of married!

I seriously can’t believe it’s been a year since Dave and I said “I do”. I mean, where has the time gone? Oh, that’s right, we’ve been sailing around the Caribbean like a couple of crazy kids. Duh!

Everyone says the first year of marriage is difficult and they weren’t kidding. Throw in a new home, a new lifestyle and 24/7 togetherness and things really get interesting! To be honest, I thought that since Dave and I had lived together for almost two years before we tied the knot, marriage wouldn’t be much different. We knew each other well, weathered some tough times and were pretty aware of what we were getting in to.

You think living together is enough of a reality check? Go live on a sailboat. Everything your partner does is in the open all of the time. Literally, we have no walls that separate us. Well, except a bathroom door (which remains open a lot of the time anyway). So those little quirky habits (like tapping a toothbrush three times after every cleaning) that tend to drive you nuts? Always there. Or the slightly bigger things that bother you, like a bad habit. Can’t escape it. Exacerbated, in fact, which can be maddening at times.

New struggles

We had our life on land all figured out.  We had a routine, our creature comforts, money… we were were golden!  We spent over 12 hours a day away from each other at our jobs. When we were together (for about 4-5 hours each night after work)  we probably only spent 1-2 hours actually being ‘present’ with each other. We both had our own vehicles and were independent, doing what we wanted when we wanted.

Now, we are with each other practically all of the time.  We have become dependent on each other to make our life aboard work.  Being on a boat has opened up a whole new can of worms we never had to deal with before. Nothing is convenient. Simple tasks that would take a few minutes on land take half a day on the water. Space is a premium and sloppiness isn’t as easily tolerated.  Finding comfort and personal space can be an everyday struggle. All of these things wear on our patience and happiness with our home and each other.

We have discovered that we can both be incredibly stubborn. For us, this is both good and bad for obvious reasons.

On the down side, we butt heads and can have blow ups of epic proportions (something we never really did on land, living together in our sweet little apartment). We disagree because we both have differing opinions on how to handle situations on the boat. We don’t take crap from each other either.  Sometimes we don’t understand why the other can’t do things the way we like to do them and we freak out.

On the upside, being stubborn has helped us because we are not going to quit on each other. No matter how ridiculous this all may seem sometimes, we are in this.  The crazy, frustrating moments are temporary and are not the definition of our bond or relationship.  This same stubbornness has also kept us moving forward on our trip in spite of obstacles we come across.

Surviving Our First Year of Marriage While Living on a Boat

In the rain, under way. Laughing at something 🙂

Who are you?

Before this trip, I thought I knew pretty much everything about Dave.


Learning things you never knew about somebody you thought you knew everything about is a bit freaky. Thoughts like, “Who is this person?” or “Is this the man I married?” have flooded my brain at times.   Then I felt stupid for not seeing these quirks or habits sooner. What had I been doing while we were living together? Was I completely blind or just so busy with nonsensical things that I just hadn’t noticed what was right under my nose the whole time? You can see how this thinking would start to drive you a little loopy.  Am I even sane?

Seriously, who are you?

Those wtf moments

Sometimes when things are bad, we can’t help but get stuck in a rut and think in negative circles. I know we’ve both had moments in the especially trying times when we questioned our decisions – taking this trip, quitting our jobs, getting married, doing what we’re doing in general. Wtf were we thinking? Are we sabotaging our lives, our relationship? After things calm down, we’re thinking clearly again and remember why we wanted to do this in the first place.

Although our Instagram account looks pretty awesome, I’m sorry to say we don’t take pictures of EVERYTHING that happens to us. Especially the crappy things we go through.  Sweating in a hot, stuffy bus, trying to get groceries back to the boat; getting into petty arguments (or substantial ones at that); washing dishes 3x a day; everything you love rusting and getting moldy because of moisture; getting sea sick or not getting sleep because of the weather. You get the point.

Surviving Our First Year of Marriage While Living on a Boat

Hitched and headed into the great wide open….

Letting go

Something I learned during this trip was that there are some things I have no control of. That includes the weather, the water, my husband. Shocking, I know. Being a bit of a closest control freak, this is a struggle for me. It takes serious effort for me to try and change the way I react to what I can’t control. It’s like that famous sailing quote, “you can’t control the wind, but you can change the trim of your sails”. How fitting.

Dave always says something to me when I’m frustrated and it drives me crazy because it’s true: “You are in control of you”.  In other words, ‘figure out a better, more positive way to react to this situation that’s driving you nuts because that’s all you can do’.  I hate it because he’s right and I hate it because he’s usually the one I’m frustrated with.  See my struggle?

Perfectly imperfect

There was a moment when I realized there are some things that will never change. I married an imperfect man, and he married an imperfect me. Nobody is perfect for anyone. Let’s just get that out of the way, alright? Marriage is an eye opener. It is not a Disney fairytale where everyone’s dreams comes true.  We were both aware of this before we jumped in with two feet, but it’s just VERY blatantly clear now. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but the rose colored glasses are off!

Relationships are generally difficult. We know this, yet we still insist on having them because life is just more enjoyable spent with people you care about. So despite all of the struggles, compromise and sacrifice,  we also get the very best out of relationships: love, trust, loyalty and friendship. It’s all worth it.

Surviving Our First Year of Marriage While Living on a Boat

Puerto Rico <3

On a positive note…

So far it sounds like things are pretty tense around here, huh? They really aren’t. Only when we’re super annoyed with each other, which is surprisingly rare. Seriously, I don’t know how we do it sometimes.  Since we’ve been stationary in Grenada things have been especially tricky because now we have to figure out this new “stationary” lifestyle. I’ll admit, we’ve had some radio silence over here because we were at each others throats for a couple of weeks, but we’re doing much better now.

We have gone through some crazy stuff and we are still here, together.  We sleep it off, wake up the next morning, apologize, hug it out, cry it out (me, of course), whatever it takes. This trip has revealed our strengths and weaknesses as a couple and as individuals.  It has been a huge learning experience in so many ways and ultimately, I think we are both better humans because of it.

Despite everything, I know that Dave and I are solid. We can weather anything together (no pun intended) from here on out and we’ll be alright.  Once we get back to real life (which includes jobs, routine and alarm clocks) I know we’ll be wishing we were back out here cruising.  It will all seem so easy in comparison to what we’ve accomplished this past year and I’m so looking forward to it.

Surviving Our First Year of Marriage While Living on a Boat

Still in love and in Grenada!


You may also like

Leave a Comment