Is it time for you to take a vacation? Make it happen!

Being responsible does not mean neglecting yourself and your own physical, mental, emotional, spiritual health, and overall well-being.

Going to Alaska and Canada is one way to “beat the heat!”

Vanessa and I just returned from a one-week vacation to Alaska and Canada. Alaska was the show-stopper. It is known as The Land of the Midnight Sun, where amazing sunsets often occur close to midnight. During our trip, temperatures typically ranged from 55 to 62 degrees. Alaska is a beautiful land with mountains plush with greenery, more than 3,000 rivers and 3 million lakes, abundant wildlife, and so much more. God truly is the Great Architect, and all the earth is His canvas – some of the views were simply spectacular.

As we returned home to record temperatures and extreme heat advisories in Houston, we reflected on the natural beauty of Alaska and on the importance of “getting away from it all.”

Over nearly 27 years of marriage, we have come to treasure our yearly getaways. Although we have not taken vacation every year, we have endeavored to do so consistently. Taking vacation can be challenging for any number of reasons, but vacations are important.

My company just announced a permanent policy change in which it is giving all staff the week of Christmas off to be with their family and friends. Whether that is utilized for vacation or “staycation,” it is an initiative I wholeheartedly applaud! We all need time away from the daily grind.

Of course, it is not always easy to break away from one’s routines. “Business as usual” is a powerful force.

We have heard couples say “we can’t afford to take a vacation” or express guilty feelings about leaving the kids or aging parents or even their pets behind. While there can be validity to those claims, I suggest those “excuses” be further examined. There are always strong reasons why you shouldn’t, but there are also strong reasons why you should.

Being responsible does not mean neglecting yourself and your own physical, mental, emotional, spiritual health, and overall well-being. Marriage researchers and experts have discovered that spending quality time with your spouse away from your children, your loved ones, and your jobs can rejuvenate and recharge your marriage and make you far more content in your own heart and mind.

When a couple gets away together, they can actually have a lot more to give to everyone upon their return, including enhanced motivation and increased productivity in their workplaces. If you’ve ever played or watched sports, you certainly recognize the value of halftime.

Here are a few reasons why taking a vacation together as a couple is so important:

1. Even the best marriages can become stale and get lost in just doing what’s expected. A vacation gives married couples a chance to rediscover one another. Getting away from the daily stresses and hassles and spending time together in a different place can help you to rediscover what made you a couple at the start. You have an opportunity to talk and reflect and continue to dream big.

2. A vacation increases the fun and friendship in the relationship. Vanessa and I were able to attend a few comedy shows in our time away, and it felt good to laugh together. On previous vacations, we have also tried new activities: from ziplining to treasure hunts to hiking. And of course, there’s always the local foods. Wherever we go, we try and sample the local cuisine. Most important, we do those things together. More often than not, it’s a win-win! A vacation can promote emotional bonding and provide a much-needed break from just getting “the job done.”

3. Couples who vacation set a great example. If we have children, a vacation can send an important message that our marriage matters and that we treat it with importance and the utmost respect in terms of time, money, commitment and focus. In God’s order, our spouse comes first. And by the way, we highly recommend family vacations as well, but not at the loss of the two of you taking valuable time together.

In Alaska, an added plus was very little cell phone service. We both have the commitments of work – I have a 9-to-5 and Vanessa has clients who greatly rely on her advice and counsel, but there simply was not much we could do about it. Business had to wait, and we will deal with it now that we are home. So put that phone on silent, stay off the Internet, and connect with one another.

Alaska and Canada were great – but vacations don’t have to occur in faraway places. Vacations do cost, so schedule and plan according to your budget and don’t operate beyond your means. Prioritize your time and plan it now. A couple’s vacation is an opportunity to build trust, rekindle intimacy, and fully enjoy one another. And that is priceless!

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