Here are some tips on how to take a vacation that will enhance your marriage.
Plan a vacation that the whole family will enjoy.
This seems like an obvious statement, but really think it through. I know I’ve planned some family outings, that my kids weren’t the right ages for or one person really didn’t want to do, even though the rest of us did. This creates more stress, instead of reducing stress. Vacation is about relaxing!
Plan in some downtime and give yourselves plenty of time to get from one place to the next.
You may be a family that loves laying by the pool and walking on the beach or finding a nice spot to read. If that’s you, then this will be easy. However, if you’re a family that loves to be on the move, you may need to plan more downtime than you think is necessary. Sure, have fun seeing the sites and experiencing new things, but plan in some unplanned moments. It’s hard to have good conversations or let yourself destress, when you’re rushing from one place to the next. If you want a vacation that will enhance your marriage, for most people, it’s not the kind where you come home needing a vacation from your vacation.
Enjoy the time with your children (if you have children that are vacationing with you).
You can reconnect with your spouse while enjoying your kids. Find ways to say good things about your kids in front of them. Tell your spouse or your child what you love about each of them. Play. Let go of your grownup self for a little while and be a kid again. Laughing and being silly with your family is a great way to find joy in your marriage.
Make it a priority to have some time to connect with your spouse without the children.
Life gets busy and a lot of couples are not consistent about having date nights or making time for the two of them, so vacation is a great time when you can set aside your responsibilities and business and take some time for the two of you. Maybe your resort has a day camp. Maybe the relatives you’re staying with would enjoy some quality time with your little ones. Maybe your room has a deck you can sit on after the kids are in bed. Maybe you’ll have to get really creative and have a cheap bottle of wine with a flashlight in your hotel closet! You can make it happen if you want to. Find a way to have some time to reminisce about the past, dream about the future, be thankful for what you have and share your feeling with each other.
Focus on having fun and relaxing, not on your issues. It’s okay to decide that you’re not going to bring up “hot topics” on vacation. Even if they seem to come up naturally, you can decide to let it go for the moment. It can be good to let those rest for a week or so and focus on fun. If you do decide that vacation is a good time to try and work on some of these areas, agree on when you will do this and make the discussion off limits the rest of the time. Make your vacation a time to enjoy family. Don’t get stressed over the issues that will be there when you get back. Focus on being together and remembering what you love about each other. This will prime you to be more open and understanding when you do need to bring up the topics again.
Read a marriage book before you go or while you’re on the trip and talk about it together. Here are some of my favorites:
Hold Me Tight, by Sue Johnson
Created for Connection, by Sue Johnson
How We Love, by Milan and Kay Yerkovich
The Seven Principals For Making Marriage Work, by John Gottman PhD and Nan Silver.
Sometimes you just need a little nudge or some great insight to help you improve your marriage and get it to the place you want it to be. If you need more than a nudge, please consider contacting me for a free 15 minute phone consultation or to set up and appointment. My wish for you is to have a deeper connection and renewed hope in your marriage.
Also, check out my Facebook Note “Vacation Is Good For Your Marriage.”