Actually, it was a 2800-mile car trip, but round numbers are better in titles. The thing about a car trip with your life partner is that you are together - really together. Every decision is a joint decision, even the option to make a restroom stop. I imagine that this kind of togetherness could lead to some conflicts. For us, it led to the increased commitment to invest in our relationship.
Of course, it wasn't just a car trip; it was occasioned by a major change in my life. One does not lose one's job every day, particularly in one's 50s, and particularly after 12 years of varying responsibilities for the same company. This could also be an occasion for adding stress to a family relationship.
But this was something that the two of us decided we actually wanted to do - to get away from the house, the kids, her job (she still has hers), and to hit the road. To help me (adopted Minnesotan that I am) re-connect with family, friends, and professional contacts from the East Coast. To see some places we had never seen before. To have some protected time together. In this situation, the decision to stop at a lock of the C&O canal is an important decision. A decision to spend 2 hours at a husband's alma mater that he has not visited in over 30 years is an important decision. A decision to kick back for an evening, drink wine, and watch the sunset (you guessed it) is an important decision.
This is a whole different kind of leverage. It is living one's life, and sharing with a partner. Even after 20 years together, we could still appreciate that sunset.