The economy and the rise in technology are forcing all of us to work more at home, take on more tasks while we’re at work, and basically to never shut off. The inability to unplug when you go home and focus on your family, friends and other interests that make life interesting is putting additional stress on couples and families. This is one reason vacations are being promoted in relationship therapy. Couples are becoming passing ships in the night, and when asked to list five things they love about each other, many stammer to come up with three. When you forget why you’re married, and you feel distant from your partner, stress increases and tension intensifies in your relationship.
Social scientists have known for a long time the importance of taking a vacation, the physical and psychological benefits, including reducing stress and promoting overall well being and happiness. In addition to the individual benefits are the joint benefits of a couple spending quality times away, and the impact that it has on enriching the couple’s marriage. It isn’t easy breaking out of a routine and leaving the kids, your elderly parents, demanding jobs or the numerous other obligations you have, but a vacation can improve not only your marriage, it can improve your parenting, your ability to be a caretaker and your productivity at work and home. Marital research supports the fact that happy couples do things differently than unhappy couples, and topping the list of things they do is take time for themselves by getting away from it all with a couple’s vacation.
Below are five reasons it’s important for you to take a vacation alone with your partner at least once a year. Make it a ritual. Something you both can count on and anticipate.
- A couple’s vacation allows you to spend quality time together so you can reset your priorities and focus on what really matters; your relationship.
- A vacation helps you slow down, unplug, and get to know each other again in a stress-free atmosphere. When people are stressed they are terse, short, unloving, and anxious. When you vacation you are taken to another “zone” of relaxation.
- On vacation, intimacy and sex flow freer. When you aren’t stressed with care-taking, kids or work, you get to talk and re-connect again. Many couples report feeling like they did when they were dating, and this connection continues after the vacation is gone.
- A vacation shows you a different side of your partner. Trying novel things together allows you to fall in love with this person all over again. You become friends again, and uncover reasons you fell in love.
- A couple’s vacation without the kids is the best way to send an important message to your kids. It tells your kids that your marriage matters. It shows your kids that mom and dad value and love each other, which makes kids feel more secure and cared for. Many times kids enjoy the time away from mom and dad as well, and it helps them gain independence.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and texting are excellent ways to communicate, but not during your couple’s vacation. Leave all of that behind. Have an emergency number for the kids, your parents or whoever else is responsible for your family behind, but limit calls from work or business partners. A couple’s vacation is a wonderful relationship intervention able to rebuild trust, commitment and connection. Take one for your partner, take one for your kids, and take one for yourself.