Separate Vacations for Long Marriages?

One day about sixty years ago, my dad’s brother met his future wife. Six days later, they were married. Through thick and thin, they stayed together until death finally parted them.

Before my aunt passed away, I had the chance to ask her something I had always wondered: “Aunt Jean, how did you and Uncle Joe make it work?”

Her answer: “Separate vacations.”

At the time I asked the question, I hadn’t even started dating the person who eventually became my spouse; in fact, in my last year of college, I was pretty sure that I was never going to even consider getting married.

When I did meet Rob, and we started dating, the idea of taking separate vacations still sounded as strange to me as the day Aunt Jean shared her advice. We were both serving in the military, and our first five years “together” were spent on separate deployments and assignments. Vacations were the only time we weren’t separated.

Now that I’m older, I realize that, of course, there isn’t just one path to making a marriage work. And I have also found that the changes that life brings make it necessary to re-evaluate the path we’re on from time to time, touching base with each other, and finding new ways to be married to each other.

Last October, Rob came to me and said that he was planning on entering a contest to renew our wedding vows in Las Vegas, as part of the “Vegas Marries the Military” program. To my surprise (I never win anything), we actually were chosen as one of the couples and ended up re-confirming our commitment to each other while Elvis played “Amazing Grace” on his guitar.

Rob and I enjoy doing things a little out of the ordinary. For us, our path in marriage includes “together vacations,” now with kids! I hope that as we continue on our marriage journey, we will always find new ways of being in love, and new paths to explore on the way.