Have you gone on vacation only to return home and feel like you need a break? That happens to a lot of us. We plan a vacation and pack each day full of stuff. Then after catching the flight home or making the road trip back, you feel exhausted — like you need a vacation from your vacation!
The summer can end the same way. When the summer hits, especially for those who are married with kids, it’s a break from the norm. And just like a vacation, it goes by way faster than we anticipate. And OK, I’ll admit that maybe some of that is commercially forced on us. (My wife and I were shopping for umbrellas last week, and they were on clearance to make room for back to school stuff … wow!)
Anyways, those 2-3 months seem to be shorter and shorter each year. In addition to schools starting sooner and stores forcing back to school stuff on us, we are part of the problem, too. We do this by stuffing our summer full, just like we do our vacations. We have weekend getaways, family reunions, high school reunions, summer camps, vacation Bible schools, year-round sports for our kids, road trips, and a host of other stuff.
I want to encourage us all to slow down this summer and plan less. Enjoy those longer days, and just do nothing on some of them. Make the most of the time you and your spouse (or significant other) have. Yes, it’s fun to do stuff, but your relationship isn’t built on the stuff. It’s built on your communication and time spent.
So, slow down this summer and enjoy each other.
5 Things You Can Do to Slow Down and Enjoy the Summer Together:
1. Take a week off and do nothing
The term “staycation” became popular over the past few years with many families unable to afford going somewhere during their time off. Plan a staycation not because you can’t afford to go anywhere, but because you want to enjoy uninterrupted and focused time with your spouse. Stay up late, sleep in, go for walks at any time of the day, go to 24-hour grocery stores at midnight. Do things that encourage conversation.
2. Take a week off from your electronics
This can be done in conjunction with the first idea, or alone. Our devices pretty much run our lives and our relationships. It has sped our lives up. Stop looking down at your devices, and look up at each other. Stop trying to document everything you do for social media, and start enjoying everything you do together. Set a goal for at least a week, and see how long you can go without using your devices when together.
3. Go on long bike rides or walks
My wife and I went to a bike trail that runs through the city and rode out. We ended up riding for an hour, about 10 miles, and thoroughly enjoyed it and each other. We actually got caught in the start of a storm while riding, then the minute we reached shelter, it started to pour. So we parked our bikes and went inside a retail store and browsed together. It was a great, slow day.
4. Cancel something
If you are like most couples, you already have signed your kids up for something or committed to be somewhere for something. Cancel it. Call whoever needs to be called, apologize, and cancel it so you can spend time with your spouse. It’ll be tough and may actually ruffle some feathers, but your relationship will benefit, and you’ll love that “extra” time together. Just don’t cancel something and then schedule something else to fill it up.
5. Camp out in your own backyard
My wife and I aren’t outdoors people, but the thought of camping sounds fun. However, I understand it takes a lot to pull it off. Instead of the great big camping trip where you pack up everything in and on top of the car, camp out in your own backyard … for a few days. You can go inside to use the bathroom and cook, but overall it is an easier and slower way to have a “camping experience” with the focus being on you both.
Those are just a few suggestions. You may have others. Whatever you do, make an effort to slow down this summer. When summer comes to an end, you want to feel like you and your relationship have been refreshed, rejuvenated, and renewed.