Feb 7, 2011

Posted by in Articles, Health & Wellness, Self-Care | 5 Comments

The Get-Away

The Get-Away

A few weeks ago my husband and I went “away” for 24 hours to celebrate my birthday. We stayed at a hotel in the city where we live, so we didn’t have to waste valuable time traveling, and we had an amazing time.

We had leisurely meals, read magazines, watched movies in our hotel room, slept past six a.m. These activities were commonplace for us before we had children, but they felt downright miraculous now that we have two (including one who is still not sleeping through the night).

I have to say that it felt so good to realize that we could be the same people we were before we had children. It was exciting to remember the true love we share, the desire we can feel when we’re well rested and alone, the friendship that undergirds everything we have. These things can easily get lost in the exhaustion, the physical and emotional demands of life with young children. This life can devolve into a never-ending list of to-do’s, where, even in a partnership of lovers and equals, tiny resentments can build up, and the bonds that you share can start to unravel if you’re not careful. There is so much to be done for young children– it seems sometimes that you could give absolutely everything you have and find that they still need more– that it can be hard to give enough to other relationships to keep them strong.

Sometimes it seems that you have to drop your spouse’s hand in order to have your hands free to care for your kids; it felt so good to see that, when our hands were empty, my husband and I still wanted to hold each other’s. It’s not that I thought we wouldn’t want that, but I have to say that parenthood can feel like it takes you underwater for as long as you can physically stand. When you resurface, you can assume you’ll feel the same as when you went under, but you can’t be sure until you take your first breath of air.

Friends of ours are starting to divorce. Some of them say that things all started to unravel when they had their first, or second, child. Though I never want that to happen to my marriage and, in my younger years, could never imagine how a real, solid marriage could ever come undone, I now see how it can happen.

So I am grateful for the bond my husband and I still share through it all. I know now that it is a gift, it is hard work, it is good fortune. I don’t take it lightly, even though, in the middle of the whirlwind that is our family, I know I am not always as kind as I should be, as grateful as I mean to be, as thoughtful as I was sure I would be when I imagined years ago what my family would look like. When I was imagining what having a family would look like, I didn’t factor in for the exhaustion, the constant needs, or the nearly complete loss of time for personal needs. Once you realize these things, it becomes even more important for you and your partner to get some time to yourselves, lest you lose the bond you share altogether.

That weekend reminded me of the bond my husband and I share that forms the foundation of our family. I’m so grateful for that weekend, and I highly recommend a “get-away” of your own.

What do you and your partner do to maintain your bond? Let us know in the comments section.

  1. 110% agree. It is amazing what swims beneath the surface of the continual tide of the day to day. First and foremost, my husband and I remember that we laugh a LOT when we’re together. Not that we don’t when the girls are around, but it is a different sort of connection, and one that is so easily forgotten. A few months ago when he had the opportunity to go to San Francisco for an overnight trip, and asked me to join him, I was ecstatic. My family thought I was nuts to sit 12 hours on two flight for a single night in a hotel room, but it was hours of conversation and mindful presence with my husband each way… that is beyond value.

    I applaud your dedication to your relationship. We are the stewards of our marriage, and while it already feels like our plates are so full at times, if there was no marriage, there would be no plate.

  2. Amen, Mikko!! That’s an important point that I failed to mention– I think it’s good for our kids when we tend to our marriages as well. I once heard a psychologist say that the best gift parents can give to their children is a loving relationship with their spouse. It’s a valuable lesson for children to see us tend to our relationships, and it makes them feel safe and loved when they see their parents love each other.

    It’s so great that you and your husband went on that trip together!! Uninterrupted time with your spouse is really priceless, and it’s a gift to the whole family.

  3. Love this! A good reminder to thank the person who helps us most. My husband and I are taking off next weekend for a night away from the kids to strengthen our family, too! But even when we haven’t been able to get away for night or even just a few hours, we’ve found that taking a short walk or just sitting down together after the kids are in bed to talk provides replenishment.

  4. I applaud your commitment to your relationship with your husband.I believe there is a misconception though, that in order to have a healthy relationship with your significant other you must have frequent get-aways;vacations,date nights. My husband and I have never taken a vacation. We have two young boys, who are with me most of the time due to my husbandd’s long work hours. We value our family time very much and also squeeze in time for eachother at home. We don’t have the money for vacations or to pay a babysitter and go out for the night. We enjoy eachothers company simply by relaxing at home watching movies or tv shows or competing against eachother on computer games. We are very happy and never feel like something is missing from our relationship. Other couples I know warn us that we’re bound for divorce if we don’t get away without the kids.If one has the money and the sitters to do things like that, that is great. But for those who don’t, try to make the best of what you’ve got. I won’t look back at my life someday and regret that I never traveled around the world or took time away from my kids while they were young. I’ll look back and remember all the amazing everyday moments that we made special because we love being together, no matter where we are. I’m happy where I am. I don’t think it’s impossible to be the couple we were before the kids. Our expectations are realistic. Things may not always be perfect every second, but it’s the perfect life for us.

  5. Jodi-
    Thank you for your comment! I think it’s wonderful that you and your husband enjoy quality time at home. I do not mean to suggest that couples have to leave their homes to have a wonderful relationship. In my own home, however, I know that the zillion things we have to get done or our never-ending email, etc. often make it difficult to focus on each other when we’re home. Getting out allows us to focus on each other in a way that can be hard at home. If you don’t need to leave home to give each other this undivided attention, you’re better off!!

    All the best,
    Ali

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