At a recent dinner with my girlfriends, we got to talking about vacations. We traded stories about trips we've taken so far this year with just friends, with our kids and spouse, and with just our spouses.
One friend mentioned she and her husband no longer take trips with just the two of them. Not because they don’t have a solid relationship, and not because they don’t want to spend time together. In fact, they have plenty of one-on-one time to keep their relationship happy. But what they don’t have is enough time with their friends with no kids around.
Her solution? Always take friend trips with other couples and save her alone time with her husband for when they are in their own city.
I’ve thought about her comments a lot. My husband and I try and do at least one weekend away a year, but we do trips with other couples as well. Those friend trips are some of the most fun we have all year long. Now, that's not to say our weekend away with just the two of us isn’t great. Because it is. But overall, my friend is right. My husband and I have a lot of time to spend just the two of us on a weekly basis, but what we don’t have is kid-free time with friends.
In a similar situation, we were at dinner with three other couples and when we sat down, we immediately sat guys on one end of the table and girls on the other. It’s not that we don’t all want to talk to our spouse, but we want to talk to our friends even more since we spend less time with them.
As a stay-at-home mom, I need social interaction. Going on trips with our friends allows me to not only go on vacation, but to get hours of uninterrupted conversation in with our friends.
They say, "It takes a village to raise a child," but that saying could also apply to relationships. When you spend so much time with one person, no matter how great it is, you will always need to have other friendships to keep your individual relationship strong. Everyone needs a guys night out or coffee with their girlfriends, which is great and shouldn’t be neglected.
From the outside, people might assume just because my friend doesn't want to do trips with just her husband means their relationship isn’t strong, but that really isn’t the case. As a parent and as a partner, knowing your needs and having those friendships are vital. As long as you and your spouse are both happy with how much time you spend together, that is all that matters.
After all, if you spend your vacation catching up with your friends, just think of everything you’ll have to discuss with your spouse when you get home!