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We're going to Paris, let's plan! - Can't we just 'wing it'?

By Deacon Tom Fogle and JoAnne Fogle

We're going to Paris, let's plan! - Can't we just 'wing it'?

We’re going to Paris, let’s plan! - Can’t we just ’wing it’?

Sue and Jack are planning a trip to Paris. They’re disagreeing about how much planning is involved.

He says: We’re going to Paris – let’s plan!

Jack says: Sue and I both have vacation time coming next summer. I’d like to plan a trip to Europe. I’ve gotten all the books and guides, and I’m ready to set up a detailed itinerary so that we can get the most out of this trip.

She says: Can’t we just ‘wing it’?

Sue says: I’m really excited about our vacation, too. But Jack wants to over-plan every detail. I just want to wander around Paris, finding little cafés and exploring. Can’t we just be spontaneous?

What do they do?: Congratulations on agreeing to the destination and that one of you is not hauling the other out of his or her comfort zone; the rest is easy! There is actually room for both of your desires to be met because both methods are needed to keep your activities and free time on track; yet not so rigidly on track that it becomes boring or frustrating. Communicating with one another is essential in planning this amazing trip, so that each of you receives joy in seeing and experiencing in Paris what is most important to you both. We can call it ‘detailed spontaneity’ or ‘spontaneous details,’ depending on who wins the coin toss. Unless you are millionaires and can afford spur-of-the-moment pricing, a certain amount of pre-planning is essential so that you are not paying outrageous prices for the last remaining seats in the nose-bleed section at a sold-out concert or show. Tom and I were fortunate to be able to live overseas during our early years of marriage and we know firsthand that, without a plan when visiting some of the world’s exotic sights, some regrets will surface in later life. We regretted not seeing some of the “more important” venues in the areas we visited. Of course we have rationalized our regrets by saying, “We will go to those places on our next visit!” Sadly, that opportunity doesn’t always happen.

Often, the journey (planning) can be as good or better than the actual event and it gives both of you an opportunity to discuss your desires for this vacation. Realize that there probably will be a time during the trip when compromising will be the order of the day because of weather or health issues. So you might as well start the compromising during the planning phase. Tom and I believe you both have the right idea about your vacation, so long as both of you can become energized from your time together. Some people are energized through activities, while others are energized through relaxation. The truth for most couples is a happy medium; a little of both can serve both needs. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, we certainly recommend that Jack and Sue develop a plan of action that fulfills both needs before arriving in Paris. A certain amount of planning is inevitable, so taking a break from a well-planned trip to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Champs-Elysées and a lunch at a sidewalk café can add spice to your cake.

An important tip to remember: It is not about ‘my’ vacation, it is about ‘our’ vacation –  you, me and God. In marriage, God calls us to lift up our partners and to make our spouses the most important person in the relationship. When we focus on satisfying our spouses’ desires, we are most often surprised at how our own desires are satisfied also. Go in the Spirit of love like a young bride loves her spouse and see what exciting memories the two of you can make. Bon voyage!