Originally Posted by jfinch
My wife is a reluctant cruiser, however. She doesn't feel the allure of cruising that I do so that's a hurdle to overcome. I look forward to learning how others have resolved similar issues.
If you wife dreams of travel AND either loves to sail or loves to be on the water, it will all work out.
You can't force someone to dream and you can't force them to like something they don't. If she likes the ideas of travel and likes being on the water, read on...
It does seem that many women who have "issues" with the cruising life also have issues with aspects of any lifestyle which require one to re-assess topics of comfort, hygiene, cleanliness, and safety as well as social issues regarding these expectations, family ties, as well as status in our culture.
We're taught certain things from an early age and have "expectations" of a certain way of doing things which are socially acceptable to our peers. These expectations significantly color how we see the world and how we're willing to live our lives. Many people spend their whole lives building a social network and family relationships "proving" that they are OK, they've made it up a certain social ladder and have a certain level of success. If someone is dependent upon the props of their existing lifestyle for affirmation, then its very hard to take that person out of their existing lifestyle and expect them to be happy.
We all need to feel secure, safe, loved, respected and a host of other things. If we cannot feel safe because we don't understand sailing and how our boat is built to keep us safe...we're not going to be happy if we had no say in which boat we're cruising the world aboard and which aspects of its design were worth splurging for and which we had to scrimp on.
If we cannot feel secure and loved because we're far away from family and our significant other is not treating us the way our society tells us he must to show his love (e.g. hard to bring her roses in the middle of the Pacific, or hard for her to believe you think she's beautiful with no makeup on since you've always told her how pretty she is only when she's dressed up WITH the make up...);
if we cannot feel respected because our mothers taught us from an early age that one must have one's house spotlessly clean and one must take care of one's family and even live life a certain way to get respect...well, Mommy never lived in a 35' boat on the rolling ocean nor dealt with a composting toilet;
and if we cannot even feel clean because we've been taught that one has to have a certain way of performing hygiene to be clean...not to mention that we've been taught that we cannot wear our clothes more than once before washing and here we are in the same sweater for a week!....
Not even getting into the issues of social order and how if you're living frugally to extend your cruising years, there are going to be a lot of folks looking down their noses at you. A strong sense of self-worth needs to be had, for sure.
The list goes on and on and on. Women in the USA are most certainly bound by the expectations of society to look, act, and be a certain way. If your wife has bought into that...its a little bit hard to say, "Honey, lets throw away our life as we know it, yea, change our life, our safety, our security, our methods of cleaning and hygiene, our looks, well, honey, lets change it all. The rules are different--aren't you excited about this??"
Welcome aboard to you and your wife. One of the best things you can do to get HER excited about cruising is let HER lead some aspect of your cruising plans. Whether is researching the boat, planning the finances, figuring out the destinations to start with, etc--if she's not the lead on any aspect of it, you are not assuring that you've got some buy-in from her.