One of the biggest blessings of my married life is my awesome in-laws. They aren’t perfect but, in truth, that might make it worse. They are good, honest, loving people who adore my children (their son too) and really like me. Every summer for the last five, Natalie has spent a week with them. Sophia has joined in the last three. Dave and I haven’t taken advantage of it (really haven’t been able to), to take a trip of our own until now.
We are on our road trip and it’s our longest time together, without kids, since our honeymoon. And any experience, in my opinion, is only as good as the lessons you learn from it.
In my heart of hearts, I wondered how we would fill up the time and space together. 6 days alone, without the distractions of children or other people, is a lot of time. I was not worried, but I was considering just what in the world we would talk about this whole time - which brings me to my first lesson.
1. It’s better when you don’t have to talk all the time.
I like to talk and for 11 years – I was paid well to do it. Even now, I feel compelled to fill out the blank space in a conversation. Sometimes, I just plain get anxious when there are large pockets of silence. My husband is not like this. In fact, when I mentioned to him today that I’ve made a concerted effort NOT to talk all the time – he smiled, looked me straight in the eye and said “Thank you.” I am learning that the sweetness of time spent together is sometimes best experienced without worda.
2. We like doing, better than not doing.
We have gone out 2 nights on our trip. The first time, that next morning we got up and going. The second time, we laid around all day and we were both kind of crabby. I'm finding that for us, it’s not so much about always being on the go (naps are good), but having a shared desire to get the most out of the day works best. We are too old to waste the (whole) day.
3. Don’t shush your husband.
We had a situation where someone made a silly comment to us and we were both annoyed by it. Dave began to answer back but I encouraged him to just let it go. As it turned out, we would have both benefited if he’d responded, and so would have the young man who made the comment. I am still a relatively young wife, so this was a good reminder I don’t have it all figured out yet. He is smart enough to know when it’s best to argue and when it isn’t. It isn’t my job to determine that.
On so many levels, this vacation has been worthwhile. Probably most importantly, it’s knitted our hearts even closer together. A family is only as strong as the marriage, so we will be a better Daddy & Mommy because we took time to be Husband and Wife. This has been a great trip – even though (so far) nothing dramatic has really happened. That’s actually been the best part about it.
What trip have you learned the most from and why?