A 7-day vacation to The Bahamas gave me a new outlook and life priorities. My life and my marriage were enhanced greatly, and forever.
1999 – We Met.
I was a 25-year-old single mother living in Houston, Texas. I was very independent, and I was living life happily with my 5-year-old daughter.
I had started dating a bit, but I couldn’t stop thinking about one incredibly sexy man I met through work. After chasing Dan Rome for several months, he finally asked me out. Our first date was a non-stop 3-day weekend. We played video games, he cooked for me, we went clothes shopping, we talked about everything, and we fell in love.
We quickly declared that neither of us were interested in marriage, but we both just wanted to be with each other as much as possible.
2003 – We Got Married.
After 4 years of living with Dan but still referring to him as my “boyfriend,” I asked him to marry me. He immediately got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Either way, we both gave a resounding yes.
I always felt like a person should be at least 30 years old before committing to marriage. As it turns out, the day after I turned 30, Dan and I got married at the downtown court house in Las Vegas! It was a fun and exciting experience, and I definitely preferred it over a traditional wedding.
2004 – We Moved to Canada.
Shortly after getting married, we decided to move to Calgary, Canada. We wanted a change of scenery, and it seemed like a lovely place to raise our daughter (It was!).
Fortunately, my daughter Sarah had a strong, trusting, loving relationship with both Dan and me, and we always enjoyed family time together. I also started my own successful consulting company. So, family life was great, work was great, money was flowing, and I even had a super fun social life.
However, I became increasingly unhappy.
Dan had not had a steady job for the past several years. I was angry and bitter at the fact I was the only money maker, while he often slept in and played games during my work days. I had such strong, conflicting feelings. I loved him and cared for him deeply, but I was frustrated that he wasn’t finding work.
My anger and resentment continued to build. We never discussed divorce, but we both knew that neither of us would stay in a relationship that wasn’t great. I was worried, and I didn’t know how to resolve the issue.
2009 – I Went to The Bahamas… without Dan.
After walking to work on a particularly cold, snowy morning in February, I sat down at my desk angrily and thought “I need a break… a break with a beach.” I contacted a friend who had previously invited me to stay with him and his family in their home in The Bahamas. He replied that the generous offer was still available. I continued thinking about it all day, then I told Dan that I wanted to go without him so I could clear my head. As I expected, he encouraged me to book the trip, although it left him a bit concerned.
The trip was around my daughter’s 16th birthday, so I took her with me as a present. We enjoyed some mother-daughter fun time, but we also each had lots of alone time… reading, thinking, relaxing, and reflecting on what’s important. My friend’s condo had a private beach, and all of our food and excursions were taken care of. I couldn’t think of a better way to contemplate my life and my marriage!
At one point, I picked up a book from my friend’s bookshelf: The 4-Hour Workweek. The author lived an interesting lifestyle where he travelled the world and worked only 4 hours each week. He explained how he leveraged “the system” to hire other people to do most of his work – both business and personal. This book reminded me that it’s important to think BIG and to keep an open mind.
One day, Sarah and I took a speed boat to a couple of islands that we had all to ourselves. The remote islands and the iguanas reminded me that nothing else truly matters except sun and food (mmm, grapes on a stick)… oh, and love… because I missed Dan like crazy.
I was also inspired by the friends I was visiting in The Bahamas. Their life seemed quite peaceful, and they were living an impressive, creative lifestyle in The Bahamas. All of the inspiration and time allowed me to reflect on my life.
I asked myself some important questions:
- Who am I?
- Who do I want to be?
- What do I value?
I considered my highest priorities in life:
- Truth and Honesty
- Comfort and Safety
- Having Fun
And I thought about how Dan fits in with those priorities:
- Dan has never lied to me, and I fully trust him.
- Dan always treats me as his top priority, and I always feel safe and comfortable around him. I did not treat him as my highest priority.
- Dan is very knowledgeable in culture, history, science, philosophy, literature, etc., basically all the areas where I was NOT knowledgeable. Even better, he loves to share his knowledge with me. He’s my walking encyclopedia, and I love that!
- Dan had travelled the world for many years before we met. I was inspired by him, and I wanted to travel with him.
- Dan and I share many of the same hobbies and passions, such as playing games and watching science fiction. Just like our first date, we would be perfectly happy spending all day every day together.
I loved that man! On top of all that, I have always been VERY attracted to him. So what was the problem? Fortunately, I figured it out:
Before the Bahamas, I had seen us as Dan, Libby, and sometimes a couple. I realized that instead I must think of us as actual partners… for life. I had been in love with Dan for an entire decade, yet I never completely gave myself over to him. I cried hard when I made this realization. Everything made sense now.
Previously I was upset because “Dan can’t get a job.” Well, that’s not Dan’s issue; as a matter of fact, it’s not even an issue. I now realized that I had pre-conceived notions about how adults in today’s world are supposed to live their lives. With my new perspective, I began thinking “What can I do to help him be the person he wants to be?”
I also thought about how short and fragile life is. I believe you only live once, so you should make it the best life possible. I want to spend my precious time with the people I love, and I want to help the people I love.
I also realized that life would be much more successful and easy if you could truly partner with someone. It seems ideal to act as a team, always working for each other’s best interest. You both win! Fortunately, I had already chosen my ideal partner. He had been there all along. Hooray!
Toward the end of my trip, I called Dan and told him the exciting news. I want to truly be his life partner. I was going to be there for him. From now on. He didn’t believe me. I understood. I would have to show him the new person I had become. That didn’t take long.
2009 and Beyond – “Post-Bahamas” – My Life is Full of Love and Joy!
A few months later, we took a wonderful family vacation to Europe, which inspired us to move there. Dan helped me land a great travelling consulting job in London, UK. He took training and got a certification that later landed him a great job in The Netherlands.
We’ve travelled all around the world since then, spending as much time with each other as possible, fully living our dreams, and giving Sarah the best global opportunities in life.
I currently have a work-from-anywhere IT consulting job in Los Angeles, and Dan is CEO of a tabletop game company! We are greatly enjoying life with each other.
Taking a relaxing vacation enabled me to gain the perspective I needed to have the best marriage (and life) possible. With all this joy and love, I know I am one of the most fortunate people of all time!
I’m sharing this story with hope that it may help or inspire others. The key is to take time for yourself and reflect on what’s truly important.