By making our marriage a priority, and spending time together as a couple, we also make our family stronger.
This last week, my husband and I went on a much-needed vacation. It was just the two of us for a few days of golfing, relaxing, eating great meals and reconnecting. The last few months have been crazy for us and this weekend away couldn’t have come at a better time.
We were able to book the vacation for a week when we didn’t have custody of my stepson, “D.” But even so, when we sat him down to explain that we were going away just the two of us, his first question was, “You’re going on a trip without me?” We explained that it was a grown-up vacation and that he would be staying with his mom during that week, anyway. He understood, but I’m sure this topic is going to come up again in the future.
D is a thoughtful and perceptive four year old, but like any child his age, he doesn’t understand that not everything in the world revolves around him. When my husband and I tell him about things that happened while he was not with us, we always get a puzzled look, because he simply can’t imagine that our lives go on without him in it.
While the idea of my husband and I going away together without him was confusing to D, and may have made him feel a little left out, we know that it’s critically important that we take time for ourselves. We are good parents and we love him very much, but unless we are able to keep our own connection strong, we can’t be the robust foundation that blended families require.
Being away from a child you love and adore is difficult. For those parents who have said that we’re “lucky” because we get a weekly break from parenting, we’d like to strongly disagree. Of course, we have more freedom to do the things that we want to do, but we would much rather see D every single day and not miss a moment of his growth.
Since we don’t haveOn the flip side, we do take full advantage of those weeks that we can return to being an single, married couple. Often this means working longer hours during the week, golfing on Saturdays, or sleeping in on Sundays. We also use it as time for short weekend trips to San Francisco or Santa Cruz.
Growing up, I often heard the saying that children should come before anything else in life. But my husband and I are very much of the same thinking – that our marriage should be just as important. It’s not selfish, it’s not neglectful to D, it’s not at the expense of family time. We see it as an investment in our future, of cultivating our individual interests, of developing ourselves as individuals independent of our children and even of each other. Because of that, we both feel satisfied and happy with our lives and unapologetically so.
Our children will never have to feel neglected just because we choose to pursue our individual interests. Our example teaches them to be respectful of others, to love their family fiercely, to be confident in their own pursuits, and to be strong, independent people.