The Infamous China Trip

Seventeen years ago, when Ed and I had been married for 10 years, we were living on Okinawa, a small Japanese island in the Pacific Ocean. (Ed was stationed there as a Navy pilot.)

Since we were living in Asia, I thought it would be a great opportunity to travel a bit and see that part of the world. Plus, we had three young children, and we wanted them to experience different cultures.

A trip to China to see the Great Wall was at the top of my list. When I brought up the subject with Ed, he said, “I’d rather not go to China.” To me, that meant China was not on his bucket list of places to go, but he would go since I wanted to go.

I did some research and a few days later presented him with some preliminary plans for the trip. He was surprised and said, “I told you I did not want to go to China.” I said, “You never said that! You said you would rather not go, which is not the same as ‘I do not want to go.’”

After a lengthy “learning how to communicate discussion” (a.k.a., a fight), we came to the agreement that both of us would say specifically what we meant. If we do not want to do something, we say so! Conversely, if something is really important to us, we speak up and say so.

As a consequence of this incident, we have a happier marriage and clearer lines of communication, which has made our lives better, but…

I still have not been to China.

Anyone want to go?

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