It is OK to leave the kids at home, and travel as a couple. Forget the guilt trip and take a real one!
In the mad dash that is life, today’s couples need to leave the kids at home and take a weekend getaway . Couples need time to build their relationship, reconnect and make plans and priorities. Some couples just need the quiet time to recharge. Marriage is difficult. Families are under a lot of pressures from outside and in. When it comes down to it, you must ask, “Is it important that the adults in the family have a strong and committed relationship?” We are convinced that it is. It’s not selfish. Strong relationships take time and effort to keep healthy. We promise that what follows is not a “preachy sermon” just a few of the many benefits of finding time to travel as a couple.
I can’t leave my kids!
I am sure you are wondering, do you guys love your kids? Don’t you want them to get out and see the world too? Of course. PBS Kids is great, but we want our kids to get out and see the world. We love to take our kids on vacation. Each year we plan an annual family vacation, sometimes near, sometimes far. We always involve the kids in the planning and try our best to include some education points of interest along the way. Our kids are required to compose a power point presentation on their assigned topics, and must present to family prior to the trip. Yeah… we are those kind of parents.
For some parents, leaving the kids with grandparents or friends is very difficult. With very young children, a weekend away might be all that you are able to muster. Some parents find it difficult to be away from kids for a week at a time. Then when the kiddos leave the nest, they find that you have lost their relationship with their spouse. Taking time away is good for both the adults and the children. Trust us, a week with grandma is going to be a blast! We were a little shocked, when we started leaving for a week each year to travel, our kids wouldn’t even call us, they were having too much fun. Kids need a vacation from their parents sometimes as well!
Adults need to do adult things. On our recent trip to Turkey, we had a chance to have an extended stay in Selcuk, Turkey home of the famed biblical city of Ephesus. The entire area is dripping in history. We had a chance to visit one of the more interesting landmarks, the Celsius Library. Whilst there, waiting for the crowds to wander off, we witness a harried couple with three kids. We could tell that the mom was trying to read the guide book and figure out what they were looking at and why. Frustrating her concentration was a 5-6 year old tugging on her sleeve. The father was negotiating who knows what, with a teenager. In the end, the mother was pulled away down the path toward the food stands. Luci and I smiled at each other. We missed our kids, but we were grateful to have a few moments to contemplate what we were seeing. We would never trade our adult holidays to Turkey. You need that time together.
Let’s be honest, many adult outdoor activities are just no fun for kids. Hiking over temples in Cambodia in the heat of the day is a major bummer for teenagers. Wandering around a cemetery in upstate New York can be pretty pointless to a 4 year old. Yet both of these adult activities have been highlights of our couples trips. You also need time to do other adult things (ah hum)…but we wont go into detail on that, we will leave it up to you.
One of our favorite pastimes on vacation besides fighting of course is talking. Like many of you, both Luci and I have demanding jobs. There is a tremendous amount of pressure placed on us in our careers. Both of our occupations are the 24/7 and 365. We rarely get the chance to just sit down and talk. Our conversations are usually the sort : who is going to take the kids where on what day. In the harried everyday life, we just don’t get many opportunities to discuss what’s going on in our lives. Traveling is the perfect time to have those important conversations.
The Sound of Silence
One of the more underrated gifts of couple travel is a little peace and quiet. Kids can be loud. (Again, we are not kid haters, just being honest here.) Kid’s activities are usually high energy, active, and exhausting. We have done the Disney’s. Parents should be awarded a medal for spending a week in the parks! I can’t tell you what it has meant to us to sit on a make shift bench aside the Amazon river and watch the sunset over the jungle together. Or what it was like enjoying a makeshift dinner at our hut on the savanna in South Africa, while listening to the elephants in the distance. You need quiet time together.
Set Goals and Priorities
The final and perhaps most important part of traveling as a couple is setting goals and discussing priorities. We talk a lot about our kids when traveling. We talk about what they need from us, what they need help with and how we best can meet their individual needs. We talk about what our individual goals are. Both of us have a set of lifetime goals. We bring those out on our couple trips and mark our progress. By setting goals and priorities together will actually make you better parents, better lovers, better friends if you only leave the kids with grandma.
We highly encourage couples to make time to travel together. Leave the kids home with grandparents of friends. Your kids will love it. Do you need to spend loads of money on a couple vaykay? No. A perfectly timed weekender can work magic on you marriage.