My husband and I got married in our mid-20s and by the time our first anniversary rolled around, I was pregnant with our first child. Within the first decade of marriage, I had been pregnant four times resulting in three children. Throw in a battle with autoimmune disease that we fought together, and some deep-seated fear issues on my part, and we were doing what we could to survive, more so than thrive.
Within the first five years of our marriage, my husband tried to get me to go away for our anniversary several times. I was so afraid something would happen to us and our kids would be left orphans, or because I had wanted to be a mom my entire life, I didn’t want to miss one second of their life. Those choices of mine left us not as refreshed as we could have been if I had trusted God a little more and listened to my husband.
We recently celebrated our 22nd anniversary. The autoimmune disease has stayed at bay for years, God has healed my fear issues, and our children are now self-sufficient. As a result, we’ve been enjoying getting away once, sometimes twice a year for quite a while now. And it’s been wonderful! It’s not usually anything exotic or expensive. Sometimes it’s one night in a hotel in the same town. Other times it’s a whole weekend a few towns over. Far enough away we can enjoy the silence or carry on a conversation without being interrupted. Sometimes, it’s the kids leaving and we have the house to ourselves.
Spending time away as a couple is something I wish we had done more of from the beginning of our marriage. I’m so glad we do it now because we come home refreshed, relaxed, and ready to jump back in to life with both feet. I find I’m happier, calmer, and the chaos, busyness and fast-paced life doesn’t bother me as much.
We also are advocates for taking time away together as a family to build memories to get away from the crazy schedules and create traditions that last a lifetime.
As I said before, getting away can occur in your own home (grandparents take your kids for a few nights or they spend the night at a friend’s house) or you can get away and hire someone to watch your kids (or they are old enough to stay by themselves). Each time we get away it’s different. Last November we decided we needed a night away, so we booked a hotel in town, spent the day building memories with the kids, then dropped them off at home. They spent the evening with their grandparents; we had some time to ourselves to reconnect.
In December we had another opportunity to spend the evening alone together. This time the kids stayed the night with their other grandparents and we got the house to ourselves.
For someone who spent the first decade of her marriage staying too close to home out of fear, my advice for your marriage, your family, and yourself is GO AWAY with your spouse, if only for a night. I think you’ll be glad you did!
© Cheri Swalwell 2021