My Mom gave me a gift many years ago that turned out to be a vital factor in my marriage lasting almost 20 years now. That gift was babysitting services. You see, my Mom urged my husband and me to take a vacation away from our children for a least one week each year, while she watched over the kiddos. She was certain that people and marriages evolved quickly in life and needed an annual check-in to make sure everyone was still headed down the same path of life.
I think my Mom was on to something. Let’s be honest, relationships and especially marriages are hard work. Creating time to connect back to one another is essential for a loving, lasting relationship.
Each year, I’ve taken my Mom up on these babysitting services, even though my babies are not so young anymore. My husband and I have traveled near and far together. We’ve cracked each other up when sleeping our car in Colorado and been scared witless when a puma came close to us in Central America.
Through it all, our travel times really have shaped our relationship. When times have been tough, I’ve gone back to my travel “memory bank” to pull up our good times together. The mantra that I repeat is “remember that liked him on this past trip; we are going to be just fine.” This gives me the strength to push through. When I feel that our relationship is going through a rocky patch, I know it is time to schedule a vacation with the two of us to reconnect.
There is some research supporting my Mom’s travel suggestions as it can strengthen relationships, if done correctly. Below are five ways that travel can provide for more partner love:
1) Take a break please
Don’t know about you, but the daily grind is a real and it can make a relationship become monotonous. Keeping everything in somewhat working order for a home, family, and partnership takes a Herculean effort. At times, it’s a challenge to make time to connect with yourself, let alone your spouse/partner.
Travel removes the majority of these stressors and allows you to take a pause from your everyday life to spend quality time together. It provides opportunities to focus on just the two of you to build lasting memories together. Travel truly is an investment back in your relationship. At times, cheaper than seeking guidance from a counselor. In fact, I call my annual vacation with my husband “marriage therapy.” People snicker when I say this, but to me it’s 100% true.
2) Be here now
Taking a break to vacation as a couple provides ample opportunities to be fully present in the moment. Remembering that life is lived in the here and now, not the past or future. Your attention is focused outward on your partner as you listen attentively. Feelings and words will be amplified as a speaker and listener. Actually, everything is heightened when you are fully present. Colors, sounds, food, people, and nature.
By focusing on the here and now, a calmness comes over your mind while your overall stress is reduced. Partially as there are less “things” to worry about. In the end, you may feel that being present is a gift you give both to yourself and your partner.
3) Don’t buy me a ring, take me on a trip
Did you know that the best gift we can give our partner is an experience? Traveling is such an experience. It is with these experiences that far more happiness is reported, when compared to happiness from material gifts. Cornell University backs up this concept too. They found that overall satisfaction from a tangible gift (like a purse or shirt) only bring temporary happiness, while experiences live on with long-term happiness. There’s also an added bonus for the giver and the receiver of these experiences. This bonus is shown through deeper connections, as reported by Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
I am quite certain that as I pass on in this lifetime I’ll be flooded with memories of my loved ones and all the great experiences I had in this world. Travel weighs heavy here. After all, that new ring can’t come with me in the end.
4) Learning lessons
Travel itself can provide individual lessons of patience, clarity, enhanced health, stress reduction, increased creativity, and much more. These benefits extend to relationships as well. Demonstrated through increased trust, collaboration, kindness, commitment, and cooperation. Allowing you to fall deeper in love with your partner again as you travel together.
5) Through the good and the bad
“You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life…” That’s why a partnership is involves teamwork. Vacationing will help you work together as you both go through ups and downs. The good side being you will probably have increased chances at (hmm, clears throat) rekindling romance and seeing new exciting sights and sounds. But, you’ll also have increased chance of annoying each other as you’ll both be outside your comfort zones and possibly dealing with travel stressors. In the end, the goal is to learn more about yourself and strengthen your partnership while simultaneously expanding your horizons.
While I am no relationship guru, I can provide you with guidance based on my life. That wisdom would be to travel far and long my friends with your loved ones. Look deep into their eyes, be present, and share meaningful conversations and equally wonderful experiences. In the end, you might even end up with stronger partner love!