Once you become a parent, it’s easy to forget how your kids came to be in the first place. Staying connected with your spouse can seem like a huge challenge, especially during the first years of your child’s life as you tackle sleepless nights and potty training, and if you don’t nurture your relationship, a huge gap can form between you and your partner. For too many couples I know that gap became insurmountable and they are now separated or divorced.
That’s why I’m not only a huge fan of planning date nights with your significant other, but also a firm believer in taking a few days to enjoy a kid-free vacation together. It can actually save your marriage. Or at the very least strengthen it and help your family be stronger.
It’s not just my opinion. I interviewed Dr. Paula Bloom –clinical psychologist, CNN contributor and coauthor of Why Does He Do That? Why Does She Do That?: Two Relationship Experts Reveal the Naked Truth about Dating in the 21st Century- and she was very clear on why investing in your marriage really pays off. “One of the best things you can do for your children is have a strong marriage. The marital relationship is like the foundation of a house. The firmer it is the more stable the structure being built. In this case, the structure is your family. The happier you are as a couple the healthier your kids can be,” she explains.
Blogger Kristen Doyle, a mom of 4, hadn´t taken a vacation alone with her husband in over 6 years but decided the time had come to spend a few days as a couple. ”With 4 kids we typically only get time alone at the end of the day when we are both exhausted.” They recently enjoyed a few kid-free days in Park City, Utah.
In my case, constant traveling by both my husband and I, too many responsibilities and too little time to have time on our own was taking a toll on our marriage. We know we love each other, but too often we were simply too tired or were constantly interrupted by our children (whom we adore) to nurture our relationship.
So, last March my husband and I decided to take a three-day trip to New York. The weather was rainy and chilly, but we couldn’t have cared less. We had a blast. We had uninterrupted conversations. We ate without rushing. And I felt so much more connected to him. Of course we felt guilty for being away from our children, but they were happy to be with their grandmother. In the beginning, we would constantly talk about the kids and we terribly missed them, but after a while we started acting like a couple again. It felt so good!
Here are 7 ways traveling with your spouse can help your marriage:
Of course this all sounds fantastic, but if you struggle with guilt at leaving the kids behind, check out Kathleen Fordyce’s tips— you’ll be surprised by what she learned when taking trip with her girlfriends. And remember, organizing and planning are your best friends when going away. Leave lists of your kid’s daily schedule, important numbers and any activities he or she’s involved in with the caretaker. Go to the supermarket the day before you leave and if necessary, and leave prepared meals in the freezer. And let your child’s school or daycare know in advance who will be in charge while you’re away and give them all the contact information.
Still not convinced? This is Dr. Bloom’s take: “It can feel like SO much work to set up a kid-free vacation. But that effort can yield incredible results. How much time, energy and money do you spend on your kids? You want them to be happy? So, why are they they only ones who deserve happiness? Oh, if money is what you are worrying about consider that divorce lawyers are way more expensive than most vacations.”
Kristen Doyle, agrees. “Although it takes time, money and effort, having quality time together as a couple is one of the best investments you can make in your marriage… I’m convinced.”
Now go book that trip!
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