Do We Go Further in Relationships or Do I Go Faster on my Own?

I've been coming across this African proverb often within the Emotionally Focused Therapy community, “Alone I go faster. Together we go further.” I can really see this playing out during my trip to Orlando.

Husband and I were there for eight days, mostly play mixed in with some work. We visited Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, Typhoon Lagoon and Disney Springs. We played like kids, except our bodies don't do what they used to do.

During rides

You see, near the end of our trip, we wrote a journal account of where we've been and what we did. There was an underlying theme: we went on this 3-D simulator ride and husband got sick. We rested. We then went on this next ride, and husband got sick again. I clearly remember at the end of Harry Potter and Escape from Gringotts and husband turning to me, saying, “I need a break.” The lighting made it difficult to see whether he looked pale or not.

Now, am I bummed that we didn't get to go on as many rides as I'd like? Absolutely. The thunder storm was also a contributing factor. And, did I stretch husband and still took him on more rides than he would've liked? Absolutely. Meanwhile, all around me, I was reminded me how I could go faster on my own: wait times will be less for single riders. However, it wouldn't be nearly as fun without him next to me.

Here's why.

What I haven't told you is that I'm a screamer. I get startled easily and I let everyone know when I'm startled. Hence, while my husband might get sick, I'm the one who gets scared and I'm usually reaching for his hand at some point. And, the reason why I get to enjoy these rides is because I feel less scared when I have a hand to hold. As Jim Coan's research might tell us, while a stranger's hand is better than no hand, nothing compares to a lover's grip.

Throughout the day

Rides aside, I can see how having the company of each other helped us last the whole day for five straight days:

“Hon, can you hold this?”

“I have Tylenol.”

“You're about to go into this store for the 3rd time.” (Gift shops span the whole block with multiple entries.)

“We'll be eating at this award-winning theme park restaurant!”

“Let's go to Africa at the end because that's where the safari is. Nemo the Musical is in Dinoland.”

Not to mention on my own, I would've spent a lot of time getting lost.

With a friend

Husband and I often joke that when we go on vacation, I have pictures of him at Disney World or he has pictures of me in front of the Universal Studios rotating globe, but seldom is there a picture of us together. Technology supposedly solved this problem for us with the invention of the selfie stick. However, every picture has an extended arm, a background that's compromised, or the selfie stick just doesn't work very well for a DSLR.

Now what if we were not ONE couple but went with another friend or friends? Assuming we'll spend some time together, we can take each other's pictures.

In the meantime, I help strangers take pictures against the backdrop of Expedition Everest and we can usually get a picture in return. Sure it takes more time, but it helps to document that we were indeed in Orlando, together.

Ada Pang, MS, LMFT is the proud owner of People Bloom Counseling, a Redmond counseling practice in WA. She helps distressed couples and breast cancer thrivers. When she's not working hard, she's playing hard. Her favorite Orlando theme park was Epcot and her favorite rides were Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Expedition Everest, Soarin' and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. Nemo the Musical was also quite amazing!