Thinking of leaving the kids to take a trip with your partner, but anxiety has you second-guessing?
Run over that stop sign in your brain, call the in-laws to babysit, and go.
According to current research conducted by Travelocity, 56 percent of couples claim that travel is vital in keeping that “spark” flickering in their relationship. However, only 31 percent of couples surveyed have been on a couples-only getaway.
Parenting often feels like you’re stuck in the dugout, you and your partner never getting a chance at bat. In this monotonous phase in a relationship, the study reported that couples only spend about six hours a week together marked as “couple time.” This then leads to only seven minutes per day of “romantic time.”
Being teammates in this parenting game is vital, but we often forget to look at each other the way we used to. The sex, if it’s there at all, is often scheduled, rarely spontaneous. Between picking up the kids, homework, meal-prep, and emptying the dishwasher, finding time – real time – with your partner is tough. Taking a trip may feel like you’re trying to escape, and that’s okay.
Escape. Your relationship thirsts for it.
My husband and I found ourselves in a similar rut. It was nothing drastic, but working out and grad studies always took precedence over date nights. We knew our marriage needed a drink of adventure.
So, we packed up our bags, phoned the grandparents, and headed to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan to hike, explore, and eat and drink with the locals. We wanted to hike Hogback Mountain to view the Caribbean-blue waters of Lake Superior.
We ended up getting lost and heading 90 minutes in the wrong direction on the North Country Trail. Mosquitos swarmed us, and there were times when we wanted to quit. But we didn’t. We used the teamwork that we’ve exercised so often in parenthood and challenged one another to make it to the top of that mountain – for our marriage. It was the “spark” that our relationship needed.
Research conducted by the U.S. Travel Association claims that 77 percent of couples who travel together reported having a vibrant sex life. “Couples who take time to vacation alone together at least once each year report happier, healthier relationships overall compared to those who do not travel as couples,” says Pam Loeb, principal of Edge Research. These trips don’t have to include a pricey plane ticket. See what your own state has to offer and explore.
I’m not so sure how comfortable I feel about reporting on sex. (I have three brothers who still think the stork delivered our babies to the doorstep.) But this trip did increase our spontaneity, which, as we know, can help in the bedroom.
One rainy afternoon, we sauntered into a local bar, did shots with the locals, danced on a floor scatterd with peanut shells, and got a ride home with the bartender by 5 p.m. We would never have thought to be so liberated with our kids in tow, or even in our own town. In other words, it wasn’t just a vacation without the kids. It was a vacation for us.
Having the ability to be this free felt like a gift – one I will look forward to when I’ve grown old and have wrinkles all over my body.
We’re more than just our kids. Get out of that dugout and take your partner with you. Traveling will add not only to your sex life, but it will strengthen your teamwork, your bond, and your communication as well. It’ll remind you that life can be lighthearted again if you let it.