Written by Bethany Bartholomew
Have you ever come home from a vacation and said, “I need a vacation from that vacation”?
You may have gone on a trip with your spouse and found that you spent less time together than you wanted. Now that you’ve returned, you’re facing another work week of being away from each other day after day, and you’re not ready to say goodbye yet.
Or maybe you got to spend a lot of time with your spouse on vacation, but that time was filled with activities that left one of you feeling bored and the other one feeling exhausted.
It’s quite possible you and your spouse just vacation differently.
Some people enjoy filling their vacations with back-to-back excitement and constant activity. They take time off by filling that time with things they couldn’t do when they were busy with normal life. Other people enjoy taking time off of everything. They relax by doing absolutely nothing. And some people fit in the middle of that spectrum.
Do you know where your spouse fits on that scale?
Take some time before your next vacation to brainstorm activities that you would each like to do. Then, compare notes. What types of activities do you each enjoy? Which ones do you each dislike? How do you both want to spend your time (and your energy) during your vacations?
Here are a few suggestions to help you and your spouse make the most of your time off together.
For the vacationer on-the-go
You love to fill your vacations with activities, events, sights, places, people, and fun. Each day is an adventure and an opportunity for new experiences. You don’t want to waste a minute while you’ve got time away from boring everyday life.
If this is you, enjoy it! But include your spouse in the planning. Let your spouse know all the fun things you want to do during vacation, and then make a plan for how you will accomplish those things. Schedule (at least tentatively) your days so that you are both on the same page, but include wiggle room for spontaneity. And be willing to let go of a few fun ideas if your spouse needs some down time with you.
If this is your spouse, celebrate with them in the joys of life. Your spouse may be full of ideas and surprises, so enjoy the ride! But keep your lines of communication open. If you know you’re going to need a break from all the activities, plan ahead for a time when you can take breaks. You could even build breaks into your activities. For example, if your spouse wants to go on a hike to a waterfall, plan to have a long lunch break at the falls with enough time to just sit together for a few moments with your feet dangling in the water at the base of the falls.
If this applies to both of you, take life by the reins and enjoy every minute of it! Planning out your day should still be a priority, especially since you will both have plenty of activities you each want to get to. Make plans and share ideas, and be flexible enough to put some of your spouse’s priorities above your own. And, of course, make sure you’re both willing to throw away the schedule for a spontaneous opportunity if you find one you both want to enjoy together.
For the vacationer who takes it slow
You spend your time off by taking a break from everyday life and from any other stressful activities. Planning an entire week-long trip may seem like too much work. You’d rather have a stay-cation with plenty of time for naps, snack breaks, and talking around the table. You enjoy time with family late at night playing games or watching movies and laughing as you share stories.
If this is you, live the life of comfort! You are aware of how much you’ll have to do when you get back from vacation, so enjoy not doing it! Take your time and relax. But let your spouse know how you want to spend your down time. And be willing to have some activities and trips planned into your vacations. It’s ok to have down time away from home, too.
If this is your spouse, relax together and revel in the peace of being just you with no expectations or distractions. Take a breather and take it slow. But let your spouse know when you need to get up and do something. Plan with your spouse times when you can both do things together. You may also need to plan one activity each day when one of you stays behind while the other goes off on a quick adventure. Just be sure to keep those activities short so that you can maximize your time together.
If this is both of you, revel in the relaxation. Let your worries fade away, and enjoy your time off. Of course, make sure you communicate with each other on the important things such as meals and other activities that will inevitably happen. And discuss how each of you relaxes (one of you may want to read alone all day while the other wants to sit together and talk for hours). You may find that taking it slow together means something different to each of you. But it’s worth finding that harmonious hum for a relaxing vacation.
So whether you’re out and about during your vacation or taking your time to enjoy peace and quiet, let your spouse know how you want to spend your time off. As you work together before your vacation to plan out your time, you’ll be able to enjoy time away from work better. You’ll each be able to spend your time and energy where and how you want, with enough give and take from each of you to find that wonderful happy-medium vacation you’ve always dreamed of.
“A great marriage isn’t something that just happens; it’s something that must be created.”
- Fawn Weaver
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