Q: Is it a good idea for married couples to take separate vacations? My husband was invited to take an out-of-state trip with a friend of his. I’ve always thought that those times should be spent exclusively with each other.
A: There are actually two different questions you and your husband need to answer. The first is, does your husband want to go, and if so, why would this be a bad thing for your relationship? The uncertainty you’ve expressed isn’t uncommon, especially for newlyweds who often feel they’ve found total fulfilment in each other. But this attitude is neither healthy nor realistic. No matter how much they have in common or enjoy one another, couples need the input of and interaction with others if they are to grow together, and as individuals.
The second question spouses considering a separate vacation should ask is, “Why do I want to?” There are actually lots of great reasons. In your husband’s case, it could be to develop a deeper, encouraging, and enriching relationship with his friend. In others, one spouse may have a strong desire to travel somewhere that the other has no interest. Or it could be an opportunity to connect and bond with a child – such as prior to the onset of adolescence.
That said, separate vacations should be an “addition”, not a substitute for time away with just the two of you. If there are tensions and difficulties in your marriage, and the desire is merely to escape from having to deal with these issues, the time away will only lead to a greater sense of loneliness and exacerbate the problems in your relationship. Otherwise, a long weekend away with the girls, or camping with the guys is a good way to rejuvenate, grow, and strengthen a healthy marriage.
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