Beyond Date Night — An Annual Marriage Getaway

wife and husband driving in a jeep
Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Thinkstock

It's been many years ago now, but I still remember the first time my husband, Greg, and I went away and left our firstborn daughter, Taylor, with friends. We weren't just leaving her for the evening so we could enjoy a date night together; we were leaving her with them so we could get away for an overnight adventure as a married couple.

I loved being a new mom and honestly couldn't imagine leaving my precious infant all night long. I had no idea how many mommy fears and parenting questions I would perseverate on while preparing to leave. I wondered: Would Taylor be OK in the morning with someone else greeting her when she woke up? Were we permanently scarring our daughter by leaving her overnight? What if Taylor developed a rare disease due to a mosquito bite and I wasn't there to help? I struggled with questions and fears as I considered every possible item or instruction our friends might need while we were away. I was exhausted by the time Greg and I actually executed our get-away plan and said our tearful goodbyes.

As we drove away from our friend's home — with no one in the backseat — I began to feel overwhelmed. But out of the fog of my emotions, I recalled that prior to Taylor's arrival, Greg and I had fun adventures and nights away. And before I knew it, I had refocused, and we were laughing and connecting like old times.

Why plan an annual getaway with your spouse

Over the years, Greg and I have added three more children to our family, so the planning for our annual marriage adventures can prove to be overwhelming. I often wonder if it's all worth it — transportation for the kids, plans for meals, medical documents for an emergency — but then I remember how good these getaways are for our marriage and I know for certain … Yes, yes, yes, it's all worth it!

Going away on an annual adventure with your spouse can be life-giving to your marriage. The shared planning and excitement of the trip away does something for a couple that nothing else can emulate. Every marriage needs this! Getting away is essential because of the daily busyness of life, the stress of work and the numerous other things that pull at time away from each other as husband and wife.

So how do you plan an annual marriage adventure? Basically, an annual adventure starts with a commitment to spending a few nights out of town together. Consider planning a vacation to the beach, in the mountains or maybe sharing your gifts on a mission trip. An annual getaway together doesn't mean you have to live out of your suitcase for months or out of a backpack in a third-world country (although you may choose to do that if it's something you enjoy). The point of planning together is to make your getaway fit your own unique marriage. And remember — half the fun of your adventure is planning it together.

How an annual getaway can benefit your marriage

There are so many benefits to sharing adventure with your spouse. Consider that time away together can provide the following:

  • fill you with hope for the future
  • give you confidence that as a couple you can leave the comfort zone of your daily life
  • provide an opportunity to dream together and work as a team

Ultimately, your shared annual adventure will breathe new life into your relationship as you experience the thrill of doing something uncertain, daring or exhilarating. Call it what you want — just do it together!

So start planning now. As couples, we often think that our marriage can wait — wait until the kids are grown and gone, wait until the perfect financial picture appears, wait until we retire — but that's simply not true. This year, don't let the opportunity to reconnect through adventure pass you by.

Date night is great, but getting away as a couple is also good for your marriage. As you look at the year ahead, what will be your next annual adventure with your spouse? Rekindle the romance you felt early in your dating relationship by doing something new and exciting together.

If you need a creative new idea for adventure, consider booking your stateroom aboard the Disney Dream and sail away with Focus on the Family as we celebrate 40 years of helping families thrive.

Erin Smalley is the co-author of Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage and serves in the Marriage and Family Formation department at Focus on the Family.

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