I am all for family vacations. It is a wonderful time for you and your children, and even extended family on occasion, to bond, have fun and get away from the every day. Time to bond as a family is extremely important, in fact essential in my book for building a strong family. But, more important, is to make sure the bond between you and your spouse is solid.
If you have been following along on Wife, Mom, House…Oh My! then you know that making time for date nights is something I am a huge proponent of. Here’s why. This is my take. You may not agree and that’s okay. But after observing many successful marriages, seeing those that fail, and having some frank conversations with both sides, I have come to believe the most important relationship within a family unit is that between mom and dad. When that is solid and, for the most part, you both are on the same page, marriages and families do better. I’m not saying it makes marriages divorce proof because there are many factors in why some marriages end but it does strengthen the family bond as a whole AND ensures the marriage is strong too. That said, I have seen that a common denominator in divorce is if spouses grow apart, marriages can and often do die.
In your circle of friends and acquaintances, odds are you have a few that have been divorced. Perhaps some have gotten remarried. If there marriage was a low impact divorce (and by that I mean one that did not involve abuse or other high impact behaviors), odds are their marriages ended because of two likely reasons. One, their focus was completely on the children, not really giving their relationship much thought and when children leave, they found that they are married to a stranger and that they now want different things in life. Or two, there has been a long enough span where one or both of the spouses needs are not met, they are no longer on the same page and often battle over a variety of subjects. The marriage becomes toxic. I could go on and on about why both of these scenarios occur, how neither is irreparable, how either can be prevented and so on. But the underlying challenge in both cases is the relationship between spouses was neglected.
There are several things one can do to foster their relationship with their spouse but one that is often missed is getting away together. I will admit with children, especially young children, this can be extremely challenging and sometimes impossible. But if your situation can manage it, I highly suggest getting away for a weekend or mid-week mini getaway. It gives you an opportunity to completely focus on each other. And if there is something that needs to be discussed, it gives you time away without a barrage of interruptions by kids to focus on fixing the issue. Below are some reasons I feel a getaway is important to a marriage and some tips on making it budget friendly.
1. When is the last time you got to eat a meal and not have to watch the clock?
Date nights are vital in my mind for a healthy husband and wife relationship but they come with restraints. If you have little ones, you have a babysitter of some form. Whether paid or a volunteer family member or friend, you are on a clock. In a getaway, other than when on what day you will be back, you are not watching a clock. Dinner conversation can go as long or as short as you want.
2. Going to bed when you want, to do what you want.
I am reminded about a Jeff Foxworthy skit. To paraphrase him, he says, you never hear married men around the water cooler talking about their sexual exploits. It would go something like this: Honey, their in bed. Let’s sneak upstairs. Run I hear a door. Daddy can I have a glass of water. Ah, one got me. You go ahead. Start without me.
As funny as this skit is when he does it (I do not claim to have much of an ability to make people laugh), there is truth to it. Intimacy is a challenge with kids. Its fit in around work schedules, children’s extra activity schedules, bed times and bath times. I even had one psychology professor state he has even had to tell couples to schedule physical intimacy for at least once a week because their schedules were so busy that spontaneous intimacy was not happening. When you getaway, there is no child around. Your schedule and how you use your schedule is completely up to you.
3. Adult conversation.
You can do this on date night too but I have found that even on date night the world around sneaks in. However, on a recent getaway with my husband, I saw that most of the time conversations were about topics we didn’t get to talk about at home. Other things such as schedules and appointments always trump pure adult conversation at home. On a getaway, that is not the case. There is enough time to talk about anything and everything if you so desire.
4. Go on an off season.
So not a why but rather a how. If you go to a place during its off season, you are likely to get unbelievable rates. Its better for them to have a room filled at a drastically reduced rate than not at all. On our recent getaway, my husband and I booked a spa suite at a normally super expensive resort in Big Bear. Our rate was less than half of the regular cost. For the mountain area, it was between seasons. The ski season had just ended but it was not warm enough or thawed enough for the summer fishing, golfing and hiking season to have started.
5. Consider a mid-week trip.
Again, its better for a place to fill a room than to leave it empty. Most vacationers vacation on the weekend for a quick getaway. If your job will allow it, going on Wednesday, Thursday with Friday checkout, you can snag some awesome deals. And not just with hotels. Many attraction have weekend rates and week rates. You can do some fun activities at rock bottom prices.
6. Go local.
I have been blessed to live in two versatile states with a variety of things to do within a few hours drive. That said, within two to three hours of anywhere can count as a getaway. From my perspective, the idea is to getaway with your spouse. If that happens to be a place where there is lots to do, that’s great. If not, that’s great too. It gives your more time for you to focus on each other. But by going local, you can also save some coin. Many places have local resident rates. Plus, your saving on gas too.
For me, when my hubby and I go somewhere for a few days, it has allowed us to reconnect. Not quite like dating again but similar. It gives us an opportunity to remember and reinforce what it is we liked about each other, why we chose each other and what it is like to just be us – a couple. This is important, especially when you return to reality and the day to day demands can pull on the strength of that bond.
Until next post!