I once interviewed a couple that had been married for more than 50 years. I asked them what the secret to their success was and their answer surprised me.
They said that ever since they got married, every year, they would take a weeklong vacation without each other.
Once the kids came along, the wife would take a spa vacation with her girlfriends leaving the husband/dad at home. Then it was his turn and he would usually take a fishing trip with his friends.
The couple said the time away from each other helped them appreciate each other more. They exercised the adage, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”.
Then the couple added, while they treasured their individual vacations, they loved even more the vacations they planned and took together.
Vacations Make Great Dates
Going on a date with your spouse is already fun enough. Getting out on a Friday night after a busy week feels like such a reward. Now multiply that by 3, 4, 5 times or more! That’s what a great vacation does for you and your spouse.
The ideal vacation looks different for each couple. Sometimes it’s a trip to an exotic place. Sometimes it’s a historical or genealogical tour. Sometimes it’s as simple as a visiting a new city.
For our vacations, my wife and I have found that we really love doing something where we have to be very physically active. Last summer we fulfilled a dream I’ve had for a long time by hiking an 18 mile loop in one day in the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. No kids. Just the two of us, the trail, and the amazing scenery.
Benefits of Vacations for Marriage
The benefits of taking a vacation are pretty obvious. The real secret is how taking vacations together strengthens a marriage.
One of the most obvious benefits is the quality time you spend together. In our busy world, we can get so caught up in the day-to-day that we sometimes forget our real priorities.
Another benefit is being able to experience something new together. This is especially true if visiting a place you’ve never been before. Seeing new places, experiencing different cultures, and especially sampling new food can make for some pretty incredible memories.
Closely tied to experiencing something new is being able to learn about each other. While in Paris one time, my wife learned that I had an uncharacteristically short fuse when it came to trying to understand a subway map in French! It was a learning experience for both of us and now we go into new places studying the maps together beforehand!
Another benefit is that it’s just plain fun to plan and then anticipate a vacation. Now with the internet, you can spend hours learning about all of the cool things to go and see and do before you even get there. Imagining together is almost as much fun as actually going on the vacation itself. I did say “almost”!
But We Can’t Always Go on Vacation!
Vacations are great, but what about living everyday life? It’s true that we can’t live our lives in one continual vacation. We’ve got work, school, kids, and so forth that take up most of our time. Plus going on constant vacations can add up.
However, you can still receive all of the same benefits of a vacation with a couple of creative tricks. For starters, try taking a mini-vacation. Not every vacation has to be a two week trip though the Andes.
You can take a short road trip somewhere – even if it’s just for a Saturday. Get away from the house and explore someplace new. Sometimes, the coolest places are just outside our “daily living radius”.
Another idea is to spend the day at a spa. If that doesn’t do it for you, try something more adventurous like going paintballing or skydiving.
Sometimes the best way to do this is to skip a day of work. If you have kids, make the proper arrangements and go for it. Nothing helps you enjoy each other and your mini-vacation by doing it on a Wednesday! Leave the cell phone at home. Don’t check emails. Just enjoy your quality time together.
Another idea is to have a “staycation”. You can stay at home and enjoy each other’s company. You can do a home project together (yes, you can do chores if it’s together), or you can have a movie marathon, or even better, a sex marathon. It’s just a day that’s totally devoted to being with each other.
Whether you’re traveling to the far parts of the globe or staying in your own bedroom, the benefits to taking intentional vacations with each other are huge!
What are some memorable vacations you’ve taken together?