When was the last time you took a break, just the two of you? It’s easy to put it off. It’s easy for other things to feel more important. But this week for #MarriageMonday, we wanted to share a few thoughts on why your marriage needs a vacation.

Jill: Mark and I just got back from a six-day rest in Michigan to celebrate 38 years of marriage. We were supposed to do two of those days on Mackinac Island but it ended up being cold and rainy so we decided to let that go and to just enjoy 6 days of rest. Reading, walking, napping, eating…repeat. Mark and I are very different in a million ways, but thankfully we do like to vacation the same low-key way!

Mark: No matter how you like to vacation, it’s valuable to step away from the everyday in some way. Sometimes we’ve done staycations rather than going somewhere. With some intentionality, that can be a great break in routine as well!

Jill: It’s important that we have daily dates. It’s important that we have weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly dates. But, it’s really important that we take a little bit of extended time, just every once in a while, to step away from the everyday, and to take some time for each other. It could be a 24-hour getaway, a little weekend away, or a whole week away that you take just for the two of you. We all need time to actually step away from the everyday, laugh together, have fun together, and explore together. So today, we’re going to look at five reasons your marriage needs a vacation.

Mark: The first reason is this: You need to relate and make memories together. I will never forget going to Rome. That happened almost 30 years ago, and we still laugh about some of those memories together. Like when Jill and I were a part of a tour and we decided on this day that we would navigate Rome by ourselves. So, we found a taxi. We thought we had communicated clearly where we were going and this taxi driver dropped us in the middle of the street, ordered us out of the taxi, and then drove away. We were both so confused.

Jill: We were absolutely lost in Rome! We definitely made a memory together as we had to figure out what to do and couldn’t help but laugh about the whole situation. I remember on that same trip we went to a pizzeria because we were ready for American food. Of course, this was going to be an Italian pizzeria. So we went in and used our little translating book and ordered our pizza. We were so hungry. Ten minutes later, they came out with this huge pizza crust, with NO TOPPINGS on it.

Mark: It was seriously just a pizza crust!

Jill: We’re thinking, “Okay, did we order it wrong?” So we started eating the crust and we’re trying to figure out what to do. Do we even try to go back up and figure this out because nobody speaks English here? And finally 10 minutes later, they brought our pizza out. Who knew that “crust” was their form of bread sticks?

But you don’t have to go to Rome to invest in your marriage. You don’t even have to go on a trip to make memories together. Leading up to our 10th anniversary, we had talked about going on a cruise for our 10th. That was what we really wanted to do, but Mark was in school, our income just did not allow it, and we ended up adding more kids to our family. So there was just no way we could take a cruise.

Mark: But I had this idea that I was still going to take Jill on a cruise so we went to a nearby lake and I rented a huge row boat. I brought along a picnic lunch and a stereo for the “band” and we cruised the lake. And that was so much fun; we still talk about that. That was a memory made together.

Jill: Here’s one other reason you may need to make memories together. If you’ve been following along for a little while, you may know that nearly 10 years ago, our marriage went through a crisis. It was February 4th when Mark left. After he came home, we were approaching February 4th of the next year and I felt myself being pulled down. Even though things were going well, we realized we had to make new memories for February 4th. We found a cute little cabin and we went away for two nights to reframe February 4th, 5th, and 6th. Sometimes we need to make new memories together to reframe a date, or a time, or a struggle.

Mark: Right. Here’s the second reason your marriage needs a vacation: So that you can relax. We just go, go, go, go, go. Most of us are stress-filled, and over-committed. If we have kids, sometimes they’re over-committed and stress-filled. Life can just be crazy and so we need to pull away from the every day and actually take time for each other.

Jill: I remember when we took a trip to Mexico that was coordinated with our oldest son’s birthday. We went to an all-inclusive that had 8 different restaurants in the resort. And we had so many people recommend great places to eat and visit in the area, but we determined that we were not going to leave the resort. We were just going stay at the beach, eat, and sleep. And that’s exactly what we did.

Mark: I know a lot of times people approach vacations differently; maybe one of you wants to relax and one of you wants to go, go, go. And sometimes you have to find that middle ground, but bottom line, we need to step away from the everyday because we do need to relax. We need to take a deep breath.

Jill: The third reason is that we also need romance. We need to just slow down and have conversations, laugh together, watch the sunset together, hold hands, maybe dance during an evening that you go out. One of the things we enjoy doing when we go somewhere with a large shower is to take a shower together. We don’t have that at home. We don’t have the ability to take a shower together because our shower at home is so small. That’s a way that we can be intentional to connect and romance one another.

Mark: I’ll never forget a bed and breakfast that we went to that had an outdoor shower. It was literally in the middle of nowhere. I think it was called The Barn. There was nobody around for like 40 acres. And they just had a shower on the backside of the barn. That was a memory made and something romantic and different we got to do together.

Jill: It was! Here’s the fourth reason: We need to recognize the world can go on without us for a few days.

Mark: “You mean work will survive without me? What about the kids?” you might ask.

Jill: I know. It’s tough. It took me the longest time to be okay leaving my kids because honestly, I put the kids first and I didn’t want to leave them. But they’ll be okay. Grandma and grandpa, or a sitter, or extended family, or friends from church may take care of them just a little differently than you do, but that’s okay. Your marriage needs a break. And it needs a time to just focus on the two of you and to really reprioritize and remember what’s most important. In fact, the most important

Mark: Exactly. The last reason our marriage needs a vacation is this: We need to rediscover each other. That’s what happens when we step away. We talk about things that maybe we haven’t talked about in forever. In fact, it usually takes us a couple of days to relax and start having those conversations.

Jill: We rediscover what drew us to each other in the first place. Recently, when we took a few days away, it was so funny because Mark was just laughing about something. And I just remember kind of standing back and watching him laugh and thinking, “I love that about him. I love that laugh.”

Mark: So what are the five reasons?

  1. You need to relate and make new memories together.
  2. You need to relax.
  3. You need romance.
  4. You need to recognize the world will go on without you for a few days.
  5. You need to rediscover each other.

We want to encourage you to start talking about this. What is it that we could do? When could we set aside some time just for the two of us?

Jill: Your budget may not allow you to go on a trip. Don’t think always in the trip box. One time we knew we needed some time away. It was when some of our kids were still at home. And it was in the summer, so they went to their grandparents’ for four days. And we stayed home. There were no hotels and no extra expenses. We just stayed home alone for a few days.

Mark: Yes, think outside the box. It doesn’t always have to be a trip and it doesn’t always have to cost money. But what can you do to take some time for just the two of you? Maybe it takes two or three years for you to save up to take several days away. But are you budgeting for those marriage getaways? Are you budgeting to take some time for each other? So talk through that. “When could we do a getaway? How could we work this out from a financial perspective? And what’s one way we can prioritize a vacation just for the two of us?”

Jill: It’s important to remember that you have to get away from the everyday. Your marriage matters!

So what about you? When was the last time you took time, just the two of you, to invest in your marriage? Is this a conversation you need to have?

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