Both Rob and I belong to a bunch of Facebook groups that are all dedicated to the cruising life. They’re a great place to ask questions and people chat about everything from chart-plotters to chilly-bins. Lately there’s been a lot of questions about ‘how to convince my wife to go cruising’ and I realised that for many couples, this is one of the biggest challenges to starting their journey.
As a self-confessed land-lubber who got terribly sea-sick, I was never super-keen on the idea of cruising. While we talked about it for many years, it was always Rob’s dream and I felt safe in the knowledge that it would probably never happen. He maintains that he always knew it would!
For me, finding a deeper purpose behind the sailing was a critical turning point. However, that wasn’t the only thing that got me over the line. If you’re trying to convince your wife to go cruising, let me give you some advice from her perspective.
Stop Telling Her How Much She’ll Love It
Telling her she’ll love it, won’t make it so. That’s like me telling you how much you’ll love sitting through an Oprah omnibus. Just accept that she may not ever love the idea as much as you and let her know that’s okay. That takes the pressure off and it’s amazing what happens after that.
Let Her Choose the Boat
Okay, maybe not outright choose the boat, but definitely let her have a say. A big say. I didn’t know (and still don’t know) all the techy aspects of a boat, but I do know how much space I need to feel sane. Make sure you listen to what’s important to her. If she is upping roots to live on a boat, make her feel as safe and comfortable as possible.
Put Her in Touch with Other ‘Previously Reluctant’ Wives
Heck, put her in touch with me if you want to. There are tonnes of books written by ‘previously reluctant’ wives who now love the cruising life and I think I read them all. Your local library is a really good place to start.
Take Baby Steps
I used to get hideously seasick (hence one of my reluctance factors), so we agreed that I didn’t need to worry about anything other than beating that. Now I’m getting the sea sickness under control, I’m starting to learn all the other stuff. If your wife isn’t a boat lover to begin with, don’t expect her to go from shore-dweller to live-aboard in one swift movement. Take it slow.
Set a Time Frame
If you’re talking about cruising for an indefinite period of time, it’s no wonder she’s not jumping up and down for joy. Shorten up your expectations and promise that if she still hates it after 12 months, you’ll all go home. Let’s face it, if she still hates it after 12 months she is going home with or without you. She just needs to know that you would come home too.
I don’t know how long you’ve been floating the idea with your wife, but give her a chance to process it all and catch up. Chances are you thought about it a lot (pros, cons etc) before you even talked to her about it. Give her the same opportunity to think, reflect and consider without expecting her to be where you’re at.
If you’ve got a good relationship, I reckon she’ll come around eventually. Just remember, good things take time.