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Tips for Communicating in an RV

Communication in an RV

The best advice I can give based on my familys RVing experience: 

“Communication is your ticket to success, if you pay attention and learn to do it effectively.” – Theo Gold

So, technically it’s the best advice Theo Gold can give. But it’s something we had to learn the hard way, and something we still struggle with.

Learn the Importance of Communication

Rikki and I married young and naturally, we really anticipated nothing but happiness ahead of us. I believe we thought we were a perfect couple and that we would just always be happy with little to no effort. Obviously this isn’t the case… but we were young and rather uneducated on the matter.

For years we lived our lives without a second thought to communication. We worked, slept, and paid our bills. All the while, we were sabotaging our own happiness by not addressing our number one issue: the way we communicated with each other!

Starting our family is finally what opened our eyes. It helped us see where our marriage was weak and helped us see we had a problem. Unfortunately, it had been years of damage at that point and even years later, we’re still working on repairing the damage done by unhealthy communication.

Small Spaces Require Adjustment

Truthfully, the only reason the RV was helpful at all was because of the very small living space, coupled with the fact that we were now spending 24 hours a day together.

It’s not like that alone made things better. It actually made things a lot more tense and problematic in the beginning. We were still just getting used to living in an RV and raising a family. We needed to talk and the close proximity made it a requirement for us to talk.

Have a Talk About HOW to Talk

In this brand new lifestyle it is very important to develop a new way to communicate, even if you aren’t like us and you had a great relationship with outstanding communication. This life will transform you and it will require you to transform the way you talk as a couple as well as a family.

Don’t expect to get it figured out right away though. Continue to have discussions as you delve deeper into the RVing lifestyle.

Tips for Improved Communication

Bring Something Up Right Away, Don’t Let it Fester

Often, the start of our arguments could be traced back to something that bothered us, but ultimately was bottled up and not brought up right away. It would consume us until we were too upset to bring it up at all. It is not part of healthy communication, so bring it up when it happens or wait until a more appropriate time later (but not too much later!).

Listen First, Talk Second

Give them time to speak their minds and get everything out before you talk, giving them the respect you would want when you are talking. Trying to talk over one another does not help a situation. It more often escalates any issues because the other person does not feel heard.

Put Down the Phone, Give Your Undivided Attention

Truly, this has become a major societal issue! We will admit we do get lost in our phones scrolling and scrolling, trying to “catch up,” but when someone is trying to talk to you they don’t feel heard. Even having a show on in the background can cause you to not pay full attention. Our children are getting sucked into zoning out to a show and we have found it changes Harper’s mood and the way she treats us when she is or has been watching shows. Limit the screen time or have a rule in your family that you can say “Please put down the phone and talk” and you all respect those words.

Understand The Fact That You Don’t Always Have to Agree

We don’t always agree on things, and that is ok. Being separate people with different personalities is normal and stepping back and seeing the other’s point of view is more important than proving you are right. Sometimes it’s about compromising and showing the other that you’re willing to work things out no matter what.

Respect Alone Time

Everybody needs time to themselves. It may be something that has to happen daily, weekly, or just whenever it feels right. Being in a small space working around each other can be taxing on a person. We can get alone time in a variety of ways: by sometimes going to the store while the other stays with Harper, going for a walk, if we need quiet time to finish up some work or a project, when Harper takes a nap or goes to bed. We have also found that Harper needs alone/quiet time as well just to sit by herself to play with toys, look at books or do some crafts.

If You’re Angry, Go Cool Down and Think

So many times that I’ve made the choice to walk away and just think about things, I’ve come back with a better perspective and a better attitude. It really gives both of you some time to think about what’s taken place and if you’re reacting proportionately, or even see you’re completely in the wrong. It happens…

Give Praise

As humans, I believe we thrive on positive praise. And if you’re proactively looking for ways to praise the members of your family, you’ll find yourself and everyone around you in a much better mood!

 

Never Give Up

The most important thing you can do is never give up on refining your communication skills. Stay positive and know that if you work together at continuing to improve, you will only grow your marriage and the love in your family.

Author

Andrew Pullen

Andrew, Rikki and Harper have been traveling full time for almost 2 years. After Harper was born in 2016, unhappy with the long work hours and time away from family, Andrew found full-time RVing. Their time traveling together has completely transformed them and their family dynamic and they never plan to return to a “normal life”. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram @pullenontheroad.

3 Responses to “Tips for Communicating in an RV

  • John Padgett
    3 weeks ago

    Good article. Biggest problem I’ve run up against is non stop, absolutely can’t break in talking with ah’s where break should be.

  • Lona Pitts
    2 weeks ago

    I love your simply stated powerful wisdom. My husband and I have a 41 year-old marriage and have traveled full-time in an RV for the past 5 years. I could not have given better advise than yours. Thanks for sharing!

  • Yep. I figured out that “ahh” verbal trick awhile ago and find it difficult to continue listening when I have my very own comment or opinion or similar anecdote to contribute (one that was appropriate 4-5 “ahhs” ago and that I’m now about to forget)!

    If I use the referee “time out”signal to alert the speaker of an imminent breakdown or flare up if they do not yield the floor, it works — but it’s not a feel-good moment for either of us.

    You and I need to consider our own minutia so compelling, so interesting, so urgent that we must pre-empt any burgeoning filibuster with the dramatic exciting details about… whatever. The “whatever” is my first hurdle.

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