The idea came to me as I was driving once again down to the coast where we keep our boat. We have done this nearly every Friday night for close to 25 years. I drive on auto-pilot while my head plays with ideas to keep me from being bored. Boredom is never tolerated for very long–I will search around in my own databank of ideas planted in my brain over sixty some years searching for something novel to manipulate. Four months ago I came up with the idea of grafting our two passions- sailing and helping people- into the concept of the Love Odyssey Cruise. Now as I drove our Suburban through the pouring rain on Christmas evening the idea of a blog about our own personal Love Odyssey came to me in a flash and I knew we must do this if we wanted to be totally honest about helping other couples with their relationship issues.
But first I need to back up and explain that I am married to a “shrink”, a clinical psychologist who has been counseling couples for over twenty-some years and who recently wrote and published a first aid kit for marital problems. So you are thinking, “They must have the perfect marriage; no conflict; never argue, etc. etc.” Right? Wrong!! We have been married twenty-eight years–second marriages for both of us–and have suffered many of the same hurts, disappointments, and daily annoyances that you have. What makes us different than other couples seeking marital help? Well, maybe we can discover that together in this blog. We will be posting our thoughts, triumphs, conflicts, etc. here in this blog. Some days you will get a post from both of us individually, other days only one of us may write, but over the next year you will get a good picture of the inner workings of us as a couple. We have already agreed on some rules–we cannot edit each others posts– and no cheating–no looking over the shoulder of the other person while they are writing.
Now let me explain about the Love Odyssey Cruises. There are basically two types of odysseys: The first is a fun odyssey for couples in love. We will be taking individual couples to quaint towns along the inner/outer banks of North Carolina where they can stay in bed-and-breakfasts, eat in local restaurants, shop, and enjoy the wind and water as we sail from place to place. The second type of cruise is called Safe Passage; this one is for couples who are having some relationship issues and are committed to working hard to overcome these problems. Bryce will be offering daily marital coaching- up to four hours a day- while the boat takes them from place to place. We will be using analogies and strategies that may relate to sailing to help them safely naviagate the marital shoals. Of course we will never use in our blogs any information that could be used to identify the clients. But we will encourage each couple to write in the blog each day about their odyssey and we will also be posting about how we felt or how their issues affected us.
We are hoping to begin taking couples on these cruises beginning in May. So for the next four months we will be coming down to the coast every weekend to ready the boat for our big adventure. We have lists and lists of things that we must do before we can take on the clients. Things like purchase lots more safety equipment; repair things that we have put off for the past several years, such as canvas covers over all the teak trim on the exterior of the boat; sand and re-varnish worn woodwork; stain the teak decks; polish chrome; replace batteries in strobe lights; haul out and paint the bottom and wax the hull; etc. and I could keep going on but I won’t bore you. Even when we are home (about three hours in-land) we spend a good portion of our time focused on the boat. We have built the website in our so-called spare time, both here on the boat and at home, between all the other things that pull at us during the course of a normal work week.
And you ask, “So, what do you do, Helen, when you are not at the coast on your boat?” Well, I am a pediatric speech language pathologist and I work in my own practice four mornings a week. I also supervise a staff of four other therapists and two secretaries. I am like most women out there, constantly juggling home, husband, work, children–and trying to eek out some me-time along the way. I usually do a fairly good job as long as life doesn’t throw me too many curved balls at once. So just like you I sometimes get way too over-commited and stressed out–and that can result in my own major melt-down with Bryce over something pretty petty. Yes, we are not immune to having those squabbles and we will try to be brutally honest here and let you follow along our personal relationship odyssey. Well, enough of my rambling for today–there are things that need to be done, not the least of which is reading a few more chapters in Nicholas Sparks “The Lucky One” (which I purchased in August and never got around to reading).