Separate vacations

Ship and airplane © Petra Roeder |
“See you in ten days.”

More on things found in the article 10 Marriage Rules You Should Break – called “rules you can break with confidence.” Here is another item where I disagree.

Never vacation without each other.

Note: my perspective here is that of someone from The States where most folks get only two weeks of vacation a year. I realise that in much of the developed world people get far more vacation time. Some, but not all of what I say below is less of a problem with more annual vacation time.

I think there is a place for a group of male or female friends to get away together, but I feel this needs to be a minority of a couple’s vacation time. My problems with separate vacations are what the couple losses by not vacationing together, and the temptations that they might face. 

Vacations offer us a much needed time to reconnect. If we don’t take advantage of that, our marriage suffers. This means not just vacationing together, but also vacationing in ways that give us time together – time to relax, talk, and share as a couple.

Vacations give us a chance to experience new things, and develop new interests. The couple that vacations together experiences these things together, which will strengthen their marriage.

A big risk of separate vacations is adultery – be it physical, or just an “emotional affair”. Couples who have an active sex life are less likely to take separate vacations if for no other reason that not wanting to be separated sexually. That means those who take separate vacations tend to be, as a group, in a more vulnerable place sexually. Most folks don’t go looking to cheat; adultery is usually a combination of emotional or sexual need merged with opportunity.

There is also the potential lure of pornography, which is now available in most nicer hotels at the touch of a button. Turn on the TV, and the splash page that comes up is likely to tell you that you can get “adult movies”. If you are lonely, horny, or curious, it’s one click away …

If you do vacation separately, stay in touch by phone, text, and e-mail. Staying connected in this way allows you to share your experience in closer to real time, and reduces the risk of slipping into wrong behaviour.

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7 Comments on “Separate vacations

  1. I found this interesting in a slightly different context: I am someone (probably like many others) who travels overseas with work a few times a year. On some trips, particularly those to the US (I live in the UK), this involves staying for a few days longer than the meeting in order (bizarrely) to bring the travelling costs down; effectively a “separate” holiday, but an enforced one rather than by choice. Nonetheless, all of the risks you highlight are present, and also the fact that part of the important business of the trip is meeting new people (some of whom may be attractive, female, dressed in a way that makes the most of their, er, assets), forming (professional) relationships etc., and also the fact that one has to go out to get dinner every evening. And the time difference can make regular contact with home hard, especially if you have young kids, and your wife is therefore having to work harder as you’re not there to help, and probably therefore not able to stay up ’til 11pm to talk.

    I think one of the best pieces of advice I received came from the (excellent) book, “A Celebration of Sex” by Douglas Rosenau (a christian, with a very Christian approach to sex in his book), which says roughly, “Always be aware that you *could* have an affair”. The point being that, knowing you are human and capable of falling means that you avoid getting into some situations that people who believe they could never possibly cheat on their wife allow themselves to get in.

    Anyway — I would advise everyone who has to travel with work, without their wife, to realise that your post on “vacations” applies to them too — and I’d be interested to hear any other comments you have on avoided the temptations and pitfalls on these enforced “separate vacations”.

  2. I have to endorse what Phil has just said about being aware that we are fallible. I believe that in my marriage the only reason I have not been unfaithful to my wife has been that God has kept me the opportunity away from me when I had the inclination and has kept the inclination away from me when I had the opportunity, and most of these times were when I was away for work. Sometimes it is a benefit to be known is the “Jesus Freak” by your peers at work because they do not try to lead you down the wrong path, thinking that you will not be tempted. When your time away in a hotel, often for a training course with people you have seen before and will see again does allow for temptations to arise, and I am aware of at least one time when a couple did not resist strongly enough.

  3. I am self-employed and have been concerned about the whole idea of travel for business that requires days away from my wife. We have discussed all the lures and pitfalls that have been mentioned and decided that the ROI is not worth it. We don’t need to be rich; just covered. If the business starts to expand outside the “day-trip zone” we will allow someone in the new zone to develop it as a franchise, partnership or completely independently.

    Also, being away for days is fertile soil for sinful thinking but those thoughts can crop up just because you leave your wife and go to work everyday. I meet many women who have “dressed for success” by showing off their “assets”. Some of them I’m required to work with for hours, and the struggle to “look them in the eye” is an exhausting one. The thing that helps me constantly re-focus on the task at hand is remembering that God created her, and she is, or may someday be, the wife of another godly man. I must honor God, and my brother, with how I treat her.

  4. Pingback: Happy Hour | The Romantic Vineyard

  5. Never looked at vacationing together in this way. I always wanted me and my ex-husband too, but he always thought my vacation ideas were a little lame and never had interest in going anywhere with me. I vacationed with my friends and would do a nice family vacation with him in the kids. Me and my next husband will definitely take this advice. Thanks….

  6. Married with kids, vacationing comes in three flavors: whole family vacations (sometimes for us grown-ups, a vacation in name only), couples retreats (by far my favorites, generally great sex guaranteed), and solo vacations — typically just long weekends.

    Why the latter? I love to ski, and I like to ski out west. (I live in Atlanta.) This usually means an extended weekend in Salt Lake City, spending every available moment on the slopes, getting to and from the slopes, or recovering from the slopes. Not much opportunity for foolishness there. Solo because DW does not ski and I try to keep the expense down.

    On the other side of that, there is DW’s trips to visit family (she met up with an aunt in Minneapolis to go shopping at Mall of America) and one I’m cooking up where she heads out with a girlfriend for a spa-treatment weekend. I figure with my ski trips, it’s only fair…

  7. This is an interesting idea. We’ve never thought of taking a separate vacation…to be honest we’re all about the family vacation! But I can see how this sort of thing may come up with some families. You’ve really broken it down well in this article!
    Some of your readers may find the site helpful if they’re planning a family vacation. I guess it would help if they are planning separate vacations as well! ;) Check it out and pass it along if you find it useful. Thanks!

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