Yep! That’s right, vacations can benefit your marriage. Now, don’t misunderstand me…a vacation is not a cure all and it will NOT repair a broken marriage. What a well-executed summer vacation can do, is help to remind you why you chose to get married and why you choose to stay married everyday. A vacation is a time of relaxation and limited responsibilities, the perfect setting to get back to basics and reconnect with your spouse.
Life is hectic and when it’s not hectic it can be mundane. Sometimes it’s hectically mundane and if you have chosen to throw kids into the mix it is even more so. Note, the countless activities, rushed meals, bath night, homework, etc. that make up your day. All that, just to go to bed and start all over tomorrow. I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, and bored and all I did was write about it.
With all the day-to-day stress, chaos, and monotony, along with whatever else life may have thrown at you this year, a vacation can be the perfect way to recharge and reconnect to your spouse. It’s no secret that marriage is hard work, but if you only experience the work, it becomes really difficult to stick it out during the hard times. Marriages need ‘free time’, where you and your spouse can focus on one another and where there is limited pressure to be anything or anyone other than a partner. This ‘free time’ could encompass the entire vacation or fleeting moments, depending on the type of vacation and where you choose to go.
Where to Go
The type of vacation you choose to take will depend on your preferences, means, family, and of course, your personal relationship with your spouse. For some of you, it might be an exotic romantic getaway for two (either by plane or by car). For others, it might be a family getaway to Disney World or to the closest camp grounds. Here are just a few suggestions of getaway locations that might help you keep the spark alive.
- Rocky Mountains (being in Colorado, this had to be the first suggestion)
- Big City Life (New York City, Denver, Chicago, etc.)
- Rural Life (camping, a ranch, small towns, etc.)
- The Happiest Place on Earth (or any theme park)
- Staycation (backyard and bedroom fun) – Only to be used when getting away is not possible
What to Do
Regardless of where you choose to go or who goes with you, it is important to make time for one another (as a couple only) while on vacation. Ideally, a vacation to re-energize your marriage would include countless opportunities to talk, snuggle, and be intimate with one another and if this is your experience… go for it and don’t look back!! However, not everyone lives in an ideal world and that may not be possible for you, especially if you have kiddos in tow. So, if you have to share your vacation with other responsibilities, make sure to take steps (however small) to energize your marriage and get that time alone together. Here are a few options of activities to help you strengthen your marital connection while on vacation.
- Hold Hands
- Kiss (pecks and longer)
- Talk About Your Feelings, Interests, and Nothing In Particular
- Eat a Meal Alone Together (as often as you can)
- Have sex (of course)
- Agree to Leave Conflict and Major Responsibilities at Home
- Reminisce (about the good times)
Marriage, like work, is best when you maximize effort and energy when needed and then take a well-timed vacation to recharge. In a society where two weeks off per year is the norm, it is important to make the most of that time together with your spouse. Using your vacation to strengthen your connection to your spouse will benefit all areas of your life more than even, the most fun-filled girls or guys trip. Taking a vacation for your marriage is investing in your partnership. It is increasing your understanding and empathy for one another.
Embrace and enjoy your vacation time with your spouse. The real world will be waiting for you when you get back from vacation. The more time you spend connecting as a couple, the better equipped you will both be to deal with it until your next vacation.
About the Author
Amber Groves is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and infertility specialist at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. She helps couples, families and children to have the calm and peaceful lives they want in their relationships and family. In her spare time, she is the mother of one inquisitive toddler and a busy little baby.