Professor's House

Should Spouses Take Separate Vacations?

Her dream vacation is to sit Oceanside with a good book in her hand, while listening to the waves rush into the shore, margarita in hand – enjoying the solace of life without conversation. His, is a trip to Vegas staying up all night taking his chance at the Black Jack table and spending the days cruising the strip on his Harley. Should spouses take separate vacations such as these? Or does doing so open a can of worms that can cause a disconnect in the marriage?

According to marriage experts, taking separate vacations can actually have a beneficial affect on a marriage as long as the vacations are taken equally in duration and quantity. Obviously, if one spouse is constantly taking time off to sow wild oats or pursue personal interests without his or her spouse, while the other is stuck at home ‘–then problems will probably occur. Additionally, experts believe that taking separate but equal vacations is a good way for couples to rejuvenate and renew their admiration for one another as in the old saying, ‘absence makes the heart go stronger!’”

Obviously, each and every marriage is different. Some things may work for some couples and not for others. The important aspect of making separate vacations in a marriage work has a lot to do with trust, mutual respect, and communication. As long as the spouses aren’t trying to get away from one another for the sheer sake of getting away from one another (as in needing a break) separate vacations can be a great idea. It is also important that the two of you can come to a mutually respected place and find vacation options that are amicable for the two of you to enjoy together.

One of the biggest misconceptions about marriage, is that after the vows two people immediately become one. The reality is that when two people get married, two lives collide. This means that two sets of interests and two different passions and two different ideas of rest and relaxation are merged into one. And as you may realize, this doesn’t always work out as planned. This is where the idea of separate but equal vacations can empower couples to remain independent and autonomous without constantly disagreeing on how to best spend their free time. If couples would realize that separate vacation gives each half of the greater whole valuable time to invest in themselves, they would quickly see how these vacations can be an empowering part of marriage. Plus, by allowing one another to pursue personal passions it proves that while you may not necessarily agree on the best way to spend downtime, but you do respect one another’s needs in life.

Separate vacations in no way, need to be seen as a threat to a happy and healthy marriage. The key is communication. If you or your partner expresses an interest in flying solo on a vacation and you are set back by the idea then you should be able to orate your feelings and ask any questions that you may have. You also need to be honest with your spouse about why you are upset about the idea. Is it because you will feel stuck with the kids, or are afraid of being alone? Is it because you don’t feel like your spouse is including you in something important to you? Your fear may be that he or she is trying to get away from you, when the reality may be that your spouse recognizes your disdain for camping in the wild outdoors, and is in truth trying to be thoughtful.

It is also important that a spouse doesn’t automatically make an assumption that their spouse doesn’t want to embark on a new adventure and go along. At least ask. You may be surprised what your spouse is willing to do to spend some alone time with you.

If a marriage is in trouble or is experiencing a time of disconnect or strife, or one spouse feels that their husband/wife is taking too many separate vacations or business trips it can definitely become a point of friction in a marriage. Often times, this is exactly when a spouse will begin to suspect that his or her partner is cheating. At this point, the separate vacations will only cause more problems. And, a private and romantic getaway with just the two of you may be a nice cure all to bring the two of you back together.

Every marriage is different. The most important thing when it comes to separate vacations is that a couple agrees on the concept and is okay with it. Individual vacations coupled with joint vacations may be a valuable and insightful way to keep the passion alive and ensure that both halves of the whole are feeling satisfied in pursuing their own, private interests.

In your opinion, are separate vacations a recipe for disaster? Or do you think that given appropriate communication and mutual respect, they can in actuality be a way to strengthen a marriage?

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Sin More March 19, 2016 at 9:36 PM

I take separate vacations from my husband because, we have separate interests. I will not go with him on a 7 day fishing trip on a boat; sleep on a bunk bed and listen to a desiel engine droning all night, euw! I WILL backpack into the high Sierras, lake fish and poop in a “cat hole” (…ok, another euw but just sayin). I love the desert and the mountains because I grew up by the ocean and I need a change. To each it’s own! Separate vacations do not help my marriage. These trips show me we should not be married. I look at videos of the few times we had road trips and one family vacation. He is face was constantly tense and upset looking. He would would run off fishing, surfing or doing anything to not be with me and our daughter. I felt so tired after our vacations. I wanted a vacation from my vacation. Our sex life was suffering terribly as well… : / He never wanted to have sex during vacations. I felt ugly, naggy, fat and undesirable. whatever ….Golf, surfing, gambling, his band, his old friends, his family, his daughter from a previous marriage, his ex-wife, his boss, his job ETC…..ALWAYS CAME FIRST. Narcissist.

Atta Boy August 16, 2017 at 1:18 PM

Separate vacations do not necessarily help a marriage grow. Especially when there are limited funds, maybe one spouse works and can’t go, the money is then used for the one spouse who can go to go have a good time while the other works. Or one wants to escape the other. Or the lack of funds then restricts the working spouse when they do have vacation time. And to be left alone because of work while your spouse is off having fun isn’t fair either, especially if it’s a long trip, out of state or costs a lot of money. Sharing each others’ interests is a better policy. Learning to explore new things together. Maybe the trips of the past while single don’t work for a couple and therefore the couple should explore new options together they can both enjoy. Spending their time and money making each other feel good and enjoying each other’s company. Marriage is just that, doing things together — having new experiences, enjoying life, working together for goals and supporting each other. Courtesy and understanding is paramount in a marriage. If you do things apart and don’t have similar interests you can share and use each other for self-satisfaction perhaps you should have not be in a marriage of mere convenience functioning apart.

Sarah December 9, 2017 at 11:00 AM

It depends! If he want to go fishing, hiking sure go for it. But he want to go on a cruise, the beach, Vegas HELL F***ing NO!!! He would come back to divorce papers and an empty house! Without thinking twice about it.

And yeah right that guys just want to go to vegas to play “black jack” and ride “Harley’s” unless someone’s name is Harley ?

Jay R. October 6, 2018 at 11:01 PM

A marriage is supposed to be between two best friends. The reason you get married is because you can’t imagine living without your spouse. They are the oxygen in a smothering world; the person who soothes your wounds, makes you whole, and completes your personality. When you marry, you become as one. If this is not the case before marriage, then don’t marry; they’re not the right one for you. If you marry, and realize later that this is not the case, then seek counseling, and dedicate your whole life to fixing it.
As some in your article have related, maybe your hobbies are divergent, but that’s all part of getting married. In every-day life, you get so busy as a couple, that you sometimes can’t bond regularly with your spouse, which leads to frustration and stress and growth in separating directions. To recreate and enhance that healthy connection and state of oneness, shared vacations are the answer. That’s what vacations for married people are supposed to be about; bonding through shared recreational experience.
When a couple has set aside time in their busy, obligation-filled lives to wind down and recharge, it should be with their spouse so that the best experiences that they have are together. Ignoring this opportunity for re-connection allows for couples to start living separate lives; and that’s not what marriage is.
Marriage is not two people living together in a partnership; marriage is two people who are joined as one, in the same way that the One who designed the institution of marriage is one with Him-Selves. In the beginning, we were created to be married to one spouse forever. This type of marriage is as close to finding heaven on Earth as there is. When we do anything in a truly healthy relationship, we do it for our partner first, and ourselves second. If this person is your best friend, surely you have enough common interests that will keep you together and growing forever.
Separate vacations, IMHO, are an acknowledgement that you have to work on your marriage; and what better way to do so, than in the carefree environment of playtime together?

Jim C March 21, 2019 at 9:16 PM

I agree with Jay. We get married to share together. If someone needs time off, it goes to show that they should have opted for a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship instead.
But a rare weekend apart can let couples enjoy some of their individual interests.
Here too, couples are to try to take on the other’s interests. Another interesting thought… happy couples, just naturally, without second thought, hang together.
If you have been wondering, “Why I am with him/her”, the automatic “I want to be with him/her” has been turned off…..
Time to turn the love light back on.


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