Finding time to intentionally spend alone with your spouse is one of the best gifts you can give each other and your marriage, whether it’s an overnight at a local bed and breakfast, camping for a weekend at the local lake, or a vacation 5,000 miles away, it doesn’t matter as long as you are going together with the goal of making your relationship a priority, connecting with one another and enjoying each other’s company.
A few years ago, we were finishing our will before one of our trips and our lawyer (who also has 5 children but they’re all grown now) told us that one of the best things he and his wife ever did was to take a vacation every year by themselves to talk, set goals, and just be together without the day to day stress of life and other interruptions. He went on to tell us that they of course had small bumps in their marriage just like every other couple, but he knew that those getaways helped save their marriage.
I am a firm believer in that marriage getaways are important to marriages. Jason and I make it a goal to take one trip each year kid-free. I’m not going to lie, it can be difficult to do! I’m sure that many of you are thinking, “We can’t afford it!” To be honest, sometimes we probably shouldn’t have went either and used the money we had saved for something else, but both of us believe our marriage is worth investing in. (I will share with you a few tips to help with this in a bit.) I’m also sure that many of your are thinking, “I don’t have anyone to watch our kids!” (I’ll have a few tips for this in a bit, too). By getting away, I feel that we have grown as a couple. On our vacations we share new foods, try new activities, reconnect, and experience life together. We focus on our conversations and each other! We come home happy and are better parents after a small break because we’ve had time to get some sleep, connect, and re-energize!
Here are some tips for those of you who think you can’t afford a getaway or find someone to help with the kids:
- Go during the off-season! This will save you quite a bit of money. Last year we took our family to Colorado for 5 days, rented a house, and went skiing. By going a week and a half before Christmas, we were able to save over $1,000! (And the memories made we wonderful!)
- Go as a group vacation, buy a package, or buy discounts through Groupon. The last few years we have went on a trip through one of the companies Jason works with farming. It actually has been so fun because we have known friends on the trip so there have been people to do things with and we also can get away by ourselves if that is what we want to do. (One of the highlights of this trip was that the company had Emmitt Smith, the retired Dallas Cowboys football star as our speaker the last night! My friend, Katie got her picture taken with him in the airport when we were all flying home!)
- Use the Saving Money…A Week At A Time idea to save some money for a vacation. With that much money you could have a really nice getaway!
- Sell items on a garage sale, Craigslist, or Facebook!
- Vow to make a few cuts in your spending and apply those savings to your vacation fund.
- Go camping, hiking, and picnic!
- Cook your own food while you are there! (We had an all-inclusive package this year and I almost felt back because this is the kitchen that was in our room! I liked it better than I like my own kitchen at home!) Stop by a local grocery store, grab your groceries and cook there. Go out for dinner as a special treat! We did this during our skiing vacation and it was great! We brought all of our groceries from home since we weren’t traveling that far and brought several freezer meals already prepared.
- In order to find help with the kids the obvious choice is to ask relatives. My mom and mother-in-law have been so gracious to help us when we’ve gone on a getaway and we are blessed that they both live within 15 minutes of our home. Other ideas are if your kids are older and in school, divide them up and see if they can stay with friends. (Make sure you reciprocate for the friends who help you out!) Other ideas are friends, neighbors that you trust, and the children’s regular caregivers.
- The key with success to getting the kids ready is to have a schedule made out for them long in advance. If your kids are in lots of activities, going on a weekend vacation may be a better idea (or make a goal of doing 2 weekend vacations throughout the year). Our kids missed many of their regular activities the week we were gone because we didn’t want the grandparents to have to run the whole week. It was a small vacation for the kids and for us!
What are your best tips for having a getaway?