Have you caught yourself daydreaming about visiting somewhere exciting with your spouse, only for that daydream to be interrupted by your kids fussing in the background? Most families plan their vacations around their children, but it is more imperative to foster a healthy marriage for your kids than to maintain a physical presence 24/7 every day of the year.
Marriage experts promote the value of vacationing as a couple at least once a year in cultivating health in your marriage. A couple’s vacation benefits not only their marriage but also their children’s lives.
MORE FROM MARY JO: 6 strategies to maintain sanity with kids home this summer
Although feelings of guilt or selfishness may emerge initially as a result of vacationing away from your kids, self-care and reconnection with your spouse while enjoying much needed time away helps you be a better parent and partner.
If you struggle with the idea of planning a short getaway with your partner, psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini offers five justifications to help motivate you to begin planning now.
- Reconnect emotionally with your spouse. Healthy marriages require nurture and connection every day, but the presence of children can complicate your availability to your partner. A marriage cannot be placed on hold until the kids mature. To foster a strong marriage, you must dedicate time to talking, sharing, and laughing every day. Emotional intimacy is restored when couples take a respite together, enhancing romance and closeness long after the vacation ends.
- De-stress and enjoy married life. Parenting is stressful. Whether due to interrupted sleep, toddler tantrums or high school drama, you need time to lower your stress and relax. Scheduling an adventurous date, candlelit dinner, or movie night together without the burden of tending to someone else’s needs helps you de-stress and enjoy each other’s company.
- Demonstrate the importance of your marriage to your children. When you vacation with your partner, you teach your children that your marriage is important. Children naturally believe the world revolves around them, and although that may be partially true, it’s critical to demonstrate to your children that you love each other enough to prioritize your marriage.
- Share physical intimacy. Sharing alone time together increases physical intimacy, and intimacy with your partner raises your oxytocin, or love hormone, helping you fall back in love with each other. With children to care for, it can be difficult to spend intimate time with your partner, but physical intimacy increases trust, reduces moodiness, and promotes emotional connection.
- Instill resiliency in your children. Leaving your children in someone else’s care encourages resiliency in your children. Declaring your belief in your children’s ability to manage without you for the weekend boosts a child’s confidence, and interacting with a new caretaker builds new skills. Research suggests increased happiness in parents who vacation without the kids, and children raised by parents who are content in their relationship score higher in personal happiness, security, and harmonization with others.
MORE FROM MARY JO: 5 workplace behaviors that hurt your marriage
Loving your children is an excellent reason to take a break with your spouse for a weekend getaway. Slipping away to reconnect with your partner rejuvenates you and gives you a chance to miss your kids.
Enjoying a happy marriage, the two of you created is the most precious gift you can offer to your children, and they will thank you for it someday after they are grown.