You’ve always wanted to bungee jump in New Zealand, dog sled on the Iditarod trail and ride an elephant through a nature reserve in the Laotian jungle. Your partner, on the other hand, would love to eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris, go wine tasting in Argentina and stay overnight in a castle in Ireland. You may think a couple’s bucket list is an impossible feat, because your dreams do not match up. Don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to merge your lists of lifelong wants while still remaining true to yourselves. Here’s how you can create a joint bucket list that embraces your individuality while taking you as far afield as your imaginations allow.
- Be thorough. You and your partner are in it for the long haul, and it’s time to create a joint to do list that will help you live out your travel dreams. Trouble is, you have vastly different traveling styles—five star hotel vs. six-dorm hostel kind of traveling styles. While assembling the first draft of your list, don’t worry about your differences. Write down EVERYTHING you can think of that you’d like to do as a couple whether you think your significant other would like to participate or not.
- Be honest. We all know that honesty is the best policy, and that clichéd, old statement holds true even when making a couples bucket list. The trips, experiences and adventures on your list will most likely take weeks or months of planning and saving, so they had better be something that you are both totally invested in. Now is the time to be honest and say, “No, I’ve never wanted to go crocodile wrestling in the Australian outback,” instead of being nice or trying not to hurt your partner’s feelings. Be up-front with your desires, as well as those things that are totally off-limits, and trust that your partner will do the same toward you. After all, you can still keep individual bucket lists for the things that you don’t necessarily want to do together.
- Don’t laugh. Everyone has different ideas of what will make their life more exciting and fulfilling. To share your heartfelt bucket list is to expose your deepest desires. So whether your partner mentions their desire to learn yodeling in Switzerland or attend ComicCon dressed as Superman, listen and take it seriously.
- Be open-minded. Maybe you never thought that you would attend racecar-driving school, but when your partner mentions it has been her lifelong wish, you may feel a shift inside you. Sure it’s scary, but would doing this activity together bring you closer as a couple? Will it give you a sense of accomplishment? Is it something that you might actually enjoy? There are many factors that come to play in making the decision to add something to your bucket list, and chances are you’ll be surprised at the considerations that you are willing to make in the name of pleasing your partner.
- Take turns. You’ve created a shared bucket list with everything you and your partner imagined you’d like to do during your lives together. Naturally, there are things that you both agreed you want to do, but one of you may like the idea slightly more than the other. Over the years, it’s only fair if you take turns checking off your list. Do one thing that you brought to the list, and the following year, choose an idea that was your partner’s. Completing your bucket list this way ensures that you embrace a wide variety of activities, and that now hidden resentment creeps up in the form of dreams unfulfilled.
No matter what’s on your couples bucket list, chances are that anything you do together will bring you closer as a couple and create a lifetime of adventurous pursuits.