Written by Drs. Evelyn and Paul Moschetta of Mid-town Manhattan
Studies of work patterns show that Americans work much more than our European counterparts. And work stresses that are brought home can cause relationship problems. But can going on a vacation really strengthen your relationship? The answer is yes for for the following reasons:
1. Vacations positively change your mindset. Changing your physical environment and daily routine can greatly influence how you think and feel about yourself, your partner and the world around you. For example second home owners report a felt shift in consciousness when arriving at their “get away” place. They say they feel calmer,more centered and connected to an inner peacefulness that improves how they get along.
The same is true for couples on vacation. They are less defensive, more open,relaxed and connected. Experiencing this connection on vacation makes it easier to hold onto it back home.
2. Vacations highlight the “us” factor. What is it that most couples crave? More free time and along with that more undivided attention devoted to one another. Vacations are where partners can focus exclusively on one another’s needs. In a special place, during a special time you have the opportunity to give each other the kind of up-close attention that creates true intimacy. Vacations are where couples can nurture one another emotionally, sexually, intellectually and spiritually.
3.Vacations encourage playing together. One of the factors that explains why couples go from being “in love” soul mates to bickering roommates is benign neglect. They take one another and their relationship for granted. The same old, same old becomes so entrenched that even playing together falls to the bottom of their to do list.
Vacations are all about playing together. Suddenly what has been neglected gets brushed off and placed center stage. Playing and having fun together takes us away from problems, pressures and responsibilities. Our mood and spirit lighten and we’re more likely to see what most attracted us to one another in the beginning. That’s why playing together is a strong aphrodisiac.
4. Vacations reinforce family bonds. If you are married with children vacations can create a host of logistical issues to solve. Keeping everyone happy can also be a challenge. That said, family vacations can strengthen a relationship because they remind partners of what is truly important in their lives. Material possessions come and go and so do most worries and problems. What endures are close, caring relationships. Most adults clearly remember their childhood family vacations as wonderful adventures where they felt safe and loved. Celebrating a family vacation reminds partners how centrally important their relationship is; it can be a wakeup call to get back to treating one another as precious.
5. Vacations help relationships grow. In strong healthy relationships partners feel that they and their relationship are growing. Vacations that introduce us to new countries and cultures, that stretch our minds and/or challenge us physically expand our sense of self in constructive ways. Sharing this kind of personal growth enriches the experience, bonding us closer together.