Travel Together: Your Marriage Will Thank You


Before you continue, answer the following:

Do you feel like you’re missing a connection with your spouse?

Are you consistently impatient with your kids?

Have you been neglecting your own individual needs or interests?

Exhausted from constant juggling of bills, childcare, errands, work, and chores?

If you answered one or more of the above, allow me to tell you how travel can help.

Travel Together: Your Marriage Will Thank You | Duluth Moms Blog

This last fall I was presented with an opportunity for adventure. I was going to travel to Spain. Before I immediately lose your interest with the inevitable (and I don’t blame you) I’ll-never-be-able-to-accomplish-a-European-trip-anytime-soon mindset, let me pump the breaks. I was there with you. The time, the kids, the MONEY. Gosh, the money.

But there I was, burnt out from every day life. The daily effort to keep afloat was exhausting. The year had dealt some challenging cards; an accumulation of stress that left me impatient, angry, defeated. My marriage with my husband had been rock solid through the mundane and the more traumatic, but the every day priorities began to cloud our connection. Confused, would hear myself saying aloud to him “I miss you,” while we sat next to each other. We were losing sight of each other as we operated merely in survival mode.

I recognized the financial burden travel would place on our family. I knew childcare would be a challenge. I had no PTO for work. We’d never find dog sitters. The excuses were endless.

Then, it occurred to me. Growing up, my dad would tell me, “You will always find a reason to say no.” It’s true, isn’t it? One million ways to say no, but we only have one way to say Yes. An opportunity laid at my feet that I recognized I needed to try. For my marriage, for my kids, for my sanity. For Me.

Once the final decision was made to proceed, the chips fell into place. Childcare was a wild juggling of multiple parties. Pro Tip: If you’re at a loss on how to arrange child care for an extended period of time, ask your network on Facebook. I had so many friends and family members volunteer that we were able to make it work. In our circumstance, we were unable to save enough to pay for the two of us to travel on top of grad school tuition, so we did use a credit card. Pro Tip: Use a credit card, if you must, that rewards airfare miles. I wish I had thought of this sooner. Missed opportunity on our part. Work allowed me to be away for two weeks without PTO, I just assumed no pay during my absence (see credit card use above). And after many calls to dog kennels around town, I found one that would accept our pup infected with a parasite (under the condition of puppy quarantine).

Travel Together: Your Marriage Will Thank You | Duluth Moms Blog

Fast forward a couple months and there we were, standing in Barcelona. That first night together, we wandered. It was awkward; a telltale sign of our recent disconnect. We were indecisive. We were uncomfortable. We were lost. We talked about our kids and how we missed them. We searched deep for other conversation while navigating a country in which we knew nothing.

And I was reminded that THIS, this is why we chose to travel.

Our stomachs grew hungry as the sun sank below the horizon, so we found a small tapas restaurant on the corner of busy intersection. We pointed at the menu and laughed as the waiter informed us how to pronounce it. Between the exotic food and a couple drinks, we started to find each other again.

With each activity during that trip, the foundation of our family began to reveal. We conformed to the language with humor, navigated the subway with confidence, we found topics to discuss beyond kids and work and bills. We stayed up too late and slept in. We swam in the Mediterranean and dined al fresco. We walked miles on miles. We adventured and ate and laughed and read maps and held hands.

Through travel, we cleared the clutter into order to reveal our marriage that was once filled with friendship and strength.

I remember you.

Oh, how I have missed you.

The end of our trip arrived before we knew it.

At dinner of our last night, I turned to my husband and said I was afraid to leave. I did not want to lose him again.

He reminded me that this isn’t goodbye for us. The one-on-one time may come to an end, but we’ll take this adventure with us as we move forward in our every day marriage. Maybe we’ll hold hands more. Maybe we will spend better quality time together. Maybe we can show our kids the benefits of traveling. Just maybe.

Only now does it occur to me that the complete removal of all familiarity and routine left us clinging to one another for comfort. Travel allowed us the time and space to focus on our marriage.

It sparked a wanderlust in us to not only search the world, but search for each other.

Travel Together: Your Marriage Will Thank You | Duluth Moms Blog

Benefits of travel can be realized with every budget. I fully recognize international travel is not an option for everyone; it’s going to be a long time before we can do this again. Instead, opt for a road trip to a close destination. Go camping over a weekend. Swap houses with a relative. The biggest lesson was 1) NO KIDS. Traveling with kids is awesome, but for the sake of your marriage, try a trip without them. 2) Unfamiliarity. Learning together is what reestablishes the connection.

You will always find a reason to say no. Allow your marriage to be the reason you say yes.

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Chris Johnson
Fueled by family and black coffee, Chris is a circus monkey wrangler, marketing junkie, passionate Duluthian, sushi lover, police wife, and alarm snoozer. By day, Chris is a marketing professional immersed in content generation, social media management, and graphic design. By night, you’ll most likely find her pretending to be the Cleaver family with her husband, Ian. But let’s be realistic, two kiddos run the show at the Johnson house, Benny (4.5) and Emily (2). And somewhere in between work and home necessities, she tries to find time to manage two wild pups, cook, take weekend trips to the Johnson cabin, throw family dance parties, and binge on the Great British Baking Show.