A flooded bridge, lionfish fingers with sweet potato fries, and a long drive home in the middle of the night were just a few of our memories from Punta Gorda.
When we learned that the Legacy Captivated Outreach Tour I’ve been a part of was going to a place in Belize that we had not yet visited we knew we wanted to go together! Our time there was way too brief and we hope to go again. It was surprisingly peaceful and everyone we encountered was so friendly. We had a great time going from house to house with the outreach team, inviting people out to the concert, giving away some of my cds, and praying with those who asked for prayer.
Tom and I chose to drive down early so that we could spend a bit of time checking out the town before the outreach started. And both of us were so glad that we made that choice. We’d had a few busy weeks prior to the trip and we discovered an atmosphere that allowed us the chance to reconnect and refresh our tired spirits. One of my friends referred to our trip as little “honeymoon” for us and I agree with her.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about why that trip was so special for us even though it ended with a little more adventure than we’d planned for due to the torrential rains that flooded the bridge on the only way in or out of the district. Tom and I realized that there are five reasons why we both felt a deeper level of connection and intimacy on that short little trip.
1 We truly enjoy traveling:
The U.S. Travel Association reported that couples who travel together are significantly more satisfied with their relationships, enjoy better sex, and have improved romance long after the trip ends.
Exploring new places is always a joy for us. Seeing God’s creation is never boring. Our favorite travel destinations usually involve the coastline. Strolling hand in hand near water is always romantic, relaxing, and inspiring. Punta Gorda had the invigorating smell of the sea with the breeze to match. The beauty of the Caribbean was on full display for miles and miles in the distance.
2 We love eating together:
A study by a team of Dutch and Canadian psychologists revealed that the simple act of eating a meal together can help bring you and your partner to an emotionally better place and create more intimacy in your relationship.
Whether we are sampling new foods or enjoying old favorites it’s fun to sit and chat over a good meal. It gives us time to unwind, make plans, or just simply enjoy each other’s company. Taking a break from cell phones, work, and other distractions is definitely nurturing to our relationship.
3 We shared laughter:
There is great satisfaction to be found in creating humor as a couple. Research found that “playfulness between romantic partners is a crucial component in bonding and establishing relational security” and that laughter, “particularly shared laughter, is an important indicator of romantic attraction”.
I remember telling God that I wanted to laugh for the rest of my life. And I know that he brought Tom and I together for that reason. Whether we are laughing over something that occurred along the way in our travels, or over something seen or heard while we’re out (“pimento cheese” – text me & I’ll clue you in on the joke), or even Tom photobombing my efforts to capture our moments together on film, we’ve always found humor as a way to deepen our bond.
4 Our shared faith was strengthened:
We’ve valued our mutual faith in God over the past 35 years of our marriage. No matter what we face together we do it with God’s help and guidance each step of the way. As we were out with the team going from house to house my admiration and respect for Tom grew each time he offered to pray for someone, I felt supported as he prayed for me before I sang that evening, and it was a great comfort to pray together before we drove home in the middle of the night when the flood waters had receded from the bridge. Research also validates the importance of shared beliefs but our own personal experiences of weathering the literal and figurative storms in life strengthened and encouraged by our faith in God have been invaluable to us.
5 We created positive memories:
Each time we travel we add the memento of a shared experience to our collection. One of my songs, Love Is, is based on a list of memories we’ve created. Drawing on those memories is part of the fun of being together. Even our four hour drive home from Punta Gorda in the dark of the night evokes a positive memory of supporting one another through encouraging words and prayer as we navigated unlit portions of the highway and narrow one vehicle bridges in the rain.
Each trip we take together, no matter how short, is a time of re-connection, renewal, and romance. And I can hardly wait for the next time as I cherish each memory of all the trips we’ve taken over the years. God has been good and we have been blessed!