Absence makes the heart grow stronger. For a married couple, especially one with a family, a little absence can be just the thing to refuel and recharge the marital and familial batteries. Far too many couples fear that enjoying time away from their partners or families indicates that something is wrong in the relationship. Nothing could be further from the truth. Once you are married with children, life can take on a routine existence that makes it dull to say the least. This lack of luster in your life can cause you to feel resentful and lose sight of who you are. Instead of feeling threatened or fearful of wanting time away from the wife, husband, and kids realize how important it can be to you, strengthening your love, and giving you some extra energy to breathe fresh air into your life. The importance of time apart can be evident in how awesome you feel when you return.
So what exactly is time apart? Essentially, time away can be spent by yourself for a few hours or a weekend trip with buddies that allow you to completely let go of the responsibilities from home. No children, no spouse, and nothing but time doing what you love. You could go fishing, shopping, spend the weekend at a seminar or retreat. In other words, the sky is the limit. When you plan time away from your regular life, you should make sure that you make the most of it. This doesn’t mean that you should sow some wild oats or participate in things that would hurt your spouse or your family. Instead, do things that you love to do that are difficult to do with your spouse or family. Married life has all of us compromising things we love in order to give the most to our families.
If you plan a weekend getaway with friends, make sure that your kids and spouse know that you don’t want to be bothered. If they spend every hour or so calling you on the phone chances are you will feel guilty and not enjoy yourself to the fullest. Instead, plan a time once a day, perhaps at bedtime, where you will call and check in. If you have left the kids with either your spouse or a weekend sitter, make sure that you don’t ask too many questions or feel uncomfortable if things at home are being handled differently than they are when you are there. Who cares if the kids are staying up late or if the kitchen isn’t being cleaned twice a day? Try to let go and trust that your family is getting along just fine without you.
Chances are you have never planned a girls or guys getaway before now. When you do, it is completely normal for your spouse to feel threatened by your sudden urge to escape. Many spouses immediately think that their spouse is cheating or become suspicious about their intentions. Communicate with your spouse and explain to them that you just need a break. Being married to the same person, makes it easy for that person to always see you in the same way. They may have forgotten how much you liked to dance or rain on your parade by worrying about money or responsibilities at home. Additionally, it is vital for every relationship that the partners have friends and life of their own. Try to ease their fears or insecurities. However, just because your getting away for an afternoon causes a stir, don’t give in. In a few years, you will regret it and will most likely be blaming your spouse for isolating you.
Having friends takes a lot of work. Far too many people forget how important friends are once they get married. With kids in tow, friends become even farther out of reach. The problem is it is difficult to maintain these relationships if you don’t try. And relationships with our friends are always easier than those with our immediate family. They are vital to recharging your batteries and vital to making you feel self confident and independent. Sometimes, the importance of time apart isn’t about getting away from people in your life, but about getting closer to other people in your life.
Planning a getaway doesn’t have to be expensive either. You would be surprised how simple and easy you can make things, especially when you don’t have children with you. If you aren’t sure about spending an entire weekend away together plan something like an inter-tubing trip down a local river. Go cliff jumping; bungee jumping or something else that is exciting and you have always wanted to try. Remember in this instance, that you don’t have to worry about whether or not your spouse wants to do it with you, this is all about you. You also don’t have to necessarily plan a group getaway. Sometimes, the quiet and solitude of being by yourself, being able to read an entire book without interruption and eat cereal for dinner is just what the doctor ordered. Or maybe a big game is coming on television and you want to watch it without having to explain first downs to your kids or wife’s how about hanging out at your favorite sports bar for the afternoon.
Great couples know that the importance of time apart can literally save a marriage. When two people are constantly breathing down each other’s neck, marriage can feel more like a prison sentence than a relationship. By taking time out to do your own thing, once a month or just a few times a year you can return to your normal life appreciative and with more energy than you have had in a long time. Absence really can make the heart grow stronger! Instead of thinking that your life isn’t perfect if you aren’t overwhelmed with happiness being around your family all the time realize that it is natural to feel this way. When the inkling hits that you are merely a shadow of the person you used to be, take a risk and get some time away.