Its been said over and over, “Travel is the ultimate relationship test.”
When couples travel together, they often discover that their relationships at home are quite different from when they are abroad. At home, you live in your literal boundaries. You abide by a routine, speak with specific people, rejoice in your comfort. Abroad, your boundaries go up in smoke. Daily schedules can change by the hour, your favorite grocery store does not exist, and you have to figure out which bus to take in a place where no one speaks your language.
Volunteering abroad as a couple is just like traveling abroad. You will see your SO (significant other) in a completely new light. That means your SO will see you in a completely new light too. This can rejuvenate your relationship, or kill it. I once experienced a break up in Barcelona while on holidays. The first time we had traveled together (to Aruba), I experienced one of the worst vacations in my life. The second time we went abroad (to Spain), we broke up. Honestly, we should have traveled together sooner.
So, to those couples that are not only traveling together, but also volunteering abroad together, remember this: if you guys are truly a good fit, you will both bring out the best in each other, the best of your experience, and truly create unbelievable memories. If you are not a good fit, this could be the death of your relationship.
Volunteering abroad in a new culture can be filled with surprises. All the sudden you are in a different place, away from your daily comforts, frustrated by the annoyingly slow pace of life, wishing you were home. Culture shock can consume you. However, when you're with your SO, these frustrations don't plague you as much as if you were traveling alone. You have the familiarity of home already with you. Remember when I asked people 'What did home mean to them?' Well, the majority of people said that home had a lot to do with who they came home to. So even when you volunteer abroad in an exotic and foreign location, you have a little piece of home with you, and there is nothing better than that.
So the pro's of volunteering abroad as a couple:
Traveling and volunteering abroad reminds a couple of how life was in the beginning of a relationship. Couples who travel and volunteer abroad together are less likely to experience boredom in their relationship.
If you're ready to give it the old 'relationship test,' go abroad and volunteer as a couple. “Work together, play together.” If the thought of traveling abroad with your SO repulses you, perhaps its time to reevaluate your relationship status.
Remember, life is about change. Throwing yourself into a different situation with your SO, will let you see how they might react when things don't go as planned. Life throws bricks at you sometimes. How will you and your SO work through it when change does happen? Will you work together in harmony? Will you crumble? So maybe the ultimate test in a relationship isn't travel after all, but actually surviving change.