My husband and I will have been married 24 years in July. We started dating (on and off) since we were 17. We have two wonderful teenagers and we own a new business together. Our lives are full of many wonderful things, but at this time they are also filled with frustration, anxiety, conflict, and disagreement on parenting styles. These are all signs that it is time for us to go on vacation together alone. One thing that has kept our marriage strong is to go on mini vacations with one another at least once or twice a year and get away for about a week every other year. We have ignored this rule in the past two years, putting “business before pleasure,” but it really has been putting “business before marriage.” Finally, we decided to go on our one week relaxation get-away! We prefer to go to one of the all-inclusive resorts in a tropical setting. By doing this every two years or so it helps rejuvenate our marriage in 4 ways:

1) Relaxation

You can imagine that having teens and having a business together can cause some stress. Neither of us has gotten much sleep in the last two years. The first thing both of us need is to know there is no pressure to do anything or be anywhere on time. We are on “Vacation Time.” For my personal relaxation, I like to read funny books by Chelsea Handler while on the beach under a palm tree with a Strawberry Daiquiri in one hand. I enjoy morning walks on the beach, and breakfast in bed.

For his personal relaxation, he likes to get up early, have coffee, and go for a run. He likes watching sports and keeping up to date with politics, when he’s not always able to do so at home. He joins me on the beach after I’ve been there about an hour and reads alongside of me. He also enjoys his deep tissue massages, for sure.

We both take afternoon naps and go to bed early. Hey…we’re 46 now! We cherish the desserts and fall asleep watching an old favorite movie.

2) Romance

When walking into our suite, my husband had flowers and champagne waiting for me! I had bought a new “sexy” bathing suit, gotten a spray tan (just like a Kardashian), and I wore sundresses to all dinners. Even when we were made to pose for pictures we had no intention to buy, it got more fun each time they asked us to kiss for the camera. These actions brought a little “spark” back into the marriage, if you know what I mean. 🙂

3) Adventure and Activity

We always like to do at least one excursion and a few of the adventurous activities on the resort. Going to a waterfall with a group, holding on tight to one another, as to not fall, was exhilarating! We enjoyed kayaking together in the gorgeous blue water. We had to communicate and coordinate our rowing to get to our destination. Cooperation had become something we had been working on and this gave us a fun way to do so. The glass bottom boat and catamaran trip were just as much fun or more, full of excitement. Instead of buying the kids souvenirs at the resort store, we tie dyed all four of us cool designs (with a little help from the staff). So, we did think of our children for a little while.

4) Last, we were able to find the beauty in our surroundings

The sparkling blue water, soft white sand, the mountains converging with the water, and the small island we could see from our hotel view. We were also able to see the beauty of the staff embracing and sharing their culture with the tourists. The vision of all the other couples having fun and embracing life was inspirational. We saw the beauty and attraction that pulled us together as 17 year old kids.

Kim Matone, LPCA and Owner of Thriveworks Charlotte works with individuals, teens, and couples. She has a special interest in helping couples with co-dependency issues and in early recovery. Kim has been married 23 years, has a 17 year old daughter and a 14 year old son.