A few weekends ago, Kristen and I got away for a few days to Pensacola, FL. The important thing to note about this trip is that it was a vacation away from our four kids. While we love our children, we love them even more when we get a few days away from them. As we slept-in, enjoyed extended time together as a couple, and experienced a few days away from the grind of daily life in Dallas, we reflected upon how much we love time away together as a couple.
Today I want to spend a few moments talking about the importance of the annual marriage getaway. Here are four reasons why married couples need some time away from children on a regular basis, followed by some suggestions on how to make an annual getaway a priority!
1. We need extended time away from the daily grind.
Between work, kid’s schedules, sports and weekly activities, sometimes we just need a break. A few days away gives you the chance to connect with each other for extended periods of time. You can communicate without work, children or housework getting in the way. In our time in Florida, it was so good to just put our phones away and not have to worry about work or social media. We loved not having to look at a calendar or worry about pick-up times for kids or the time for Scott’s next meeting.
2. We need time to sleep and rest.
Back home we stay up late working on projects, making lunches and breakfast, putting away the dishes, and catching up on email and work. We get up early for time with the Lord, workouts and to get ready before the kids leave for school and the adults begin the work day. Not to mention you couples out there with new babies… I know it’s been months or even years since you have gotten much rest!
On vacation, we go to bed whenever we want and we get up only when too much light sneaks through the shades in the hotel room. Most of us need more sleep, and time away gives us a chance to catch up on some zzzz’s.
3. We need to have more FUN!!
We got to go for long walks, enjoyed some meals at places we would never go to with our kids (i.e. seafood restaurants), explored, and just laughed and played with one another. You can do this at home as well, but time away gives you more extended time to play, laugh and have fun. As I have shared before, boredom and complacency tend to be among the biggest risk factors for couples who end up divorced or miserably married. We all need to look for more ways to inject fun in our marriage.
4. We need to make time for Business Time.
A Few Suggestions…
I also thought it would be helpful to share a few suggestions on how to get away for some extended time, especially if finances are tight or if you don’t have family near by to help watch your kids. I know some people are more resourced than others when it comes to money and people to stay with your kids, but here are some suggestions. (Thanks to the great Ted Cunningham for his thoughts on this as well. Check out his book Fun Loving You for some thoughts on the daily, weekly and annual getaway).
- If you are looking for some cheaper rates on a hotel, try “Name Your Own Price” on Priceline. Whenever we look for a hotel, we try the Priceline option and can almost always find a nicer hotel for a lower rate.
- Find some way to get away in your hometown. You don’t have to worry about flights or car rental. Better yet, see if you can farm your kids out to some friends, then you can even stay at your own home. Do a kid swap with friends – you watch their kids so they can do a getaway, and then they watch yours. The price is right!
- If you do go out of town, book your getaway in the off season. In other words, spring break is not a good time to go to the beach with your spouse and no kids. Same with the week of Thanksgiving or other holidays. See if you can find some random week/weekend in a non-holiday/offseason to get better rates and smaller crowds.
- Mark off some dates on the calendar, book your babysitter, subscribe to some travel sites and make a last minute decision on where you go based on travel specials. We have never done this, but I know of several friends who mark the dates off and make a decision on where they go the week of the trip based on cheap flights and hotel rates. Talk about fun and spontaneous! While you’re at it, if possible, use hotel and airline points to help minimize costs.
- If at all possible, combine business and pleasure. That’s what we did for our beach getaway. Some very kind and generous friends flew me to Florida to officiate their wedding. For a small expense on our part, we added Kristen to the mix and added some extra time to the vacation.
I hope you and your spouse can make some time this summer or year to get away together without kids. We can all greatly benefit from extended time away from the daily grind of work, kids, and the daily routine.
If you were to get away with your spouse, where would you go, and what would you do?
Beach, mountain, lake, none of the above or all of the above?