July 17, 2009

Preparing for a Weekend Away

Opportunities for marriage growth must be created; they don’t just happen! This means you’ll have fun sitting down with each other, calendars in hand, and choosing a time to get away. Don’t be discouraged if you must wait three months to go on your trip. You won’t believe how quickly that date will arrive! It is nice to anticipate a time away. Just putting it on the calendar is fun!
Many couples like to sit down with their calendars at the beginning of the year and schedule one getaway per quarter. It is recommended that couples take one night a week for each other, one weekend a quarter, and one week a year.

After scheduling your weekend, you’ll want to decide where to go and make necessary arrangements such as reservations and travel plans.
Another part of preparation is packing everything you’ll need for your time away. One fun way to do this is something called the “Get Away Box.” This is a place where you can gather everything you’ll take on your trip. One of the great things about a Get Away Box is that it helps you anticipate your time away. Thinking ahead to your time together and setting aside special items create warmth and excitement far in advance of the event.

What goes in the Get Away Box?
What about a small gift for each other? How about that novel you wanted to read. Surprises are always nice; each of you purchase something special, wrap it, and put it in the box. Here are some ideas of what could go in the box:

  • sparkling apple cider
  • champagne glasses
  • oil
  • cheese
  • grapes
  • strawberries with whip cream
  • delicious chocolate mints
  • votive candle and holder

These items will make a wonderfully romantic snack time on one of your nights away. Music is always nice, too, so don’t forget to tuck away a favorite CD along with a portable player. The Get Away Box might also include any sports equipment you may need.

The moment you agree on a date for your weekend, make it your next step to arrange for the care of your children. However you handle this challenge, don’t let your children prevent you from taking your time away. I have known couples who have told me that they haven’t been away from their children in fourteen years. Believe me, that’s too long!

…Let me make one suggestion about a difficult topic: Don’t let your financial condition get in the way of spending quality time with each other. Few couples have the financial resources to spend a dream weekend away at a fantasy hotel. Even simple accommodations can provide the perfect place and time for relational growth.

You might choose to go camping. Camping can be great because you’ll have few distractions and almost guaranteed quiet. Some couples find camping to be one of their most intimate times away.

What we’ve learned over the years is this: It’s not where you go, it’s what you take with you.
How profound! It’s not the location, it’s “what you take with you.” What any couple takes with them is the desire to grow closer together, an attitude that seeks to go deeper. So as you plan your time away, remember your goal: to create the context for growth, a time of relaxation where you can focus on each other. This can happen in any number of locations.
…Assume it’s possible to plan a great weekend together on a low budget, then make it happen! Some couples might decide to drive to a nice location and stay in a motel that’s pleasant but not pricey. You can also decide to eat mostly inexpensive foods or bring your food with you. What?! Can couples do a getaway without romantic [expensive] restaurants? You bet! Romance will come more from how you attend to each other during your time away than from the amount of money you spend.

…Other couples might wish to plan just a day away instead of a whole weekend. You’d be surprised how restful even one full day and night away from routine can be.
…Your marital health is the result of accumulated positive experiences. The outing you’re now planning can be one of those great times of fun, relaxation, and directed conversation, but it cannot be everything. Make this getaway the best possible, but don’t allow too-high expectations to ruin a great time together.
…One of the easiest mistakes to make on a time away is to over-plan. Remember, this is marriage enrichment, not a business trip! When you plan your weekend, leave some time open to do whatever hits your fancy at the time. Make sure that you don’t make the time so intense that you sabotage your reason for going: to create a relaxed and peaceful environment in which to enjoy each other’s company and experience growth. ---author unknown