Vacations: Pathway to better relationship

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 16 Apr, 2024 06:00 | 4 mins read
Happy couple on vacation. PHOTO/Pexels
Happy couple on vacation. PHOTO/Pexels

Does a getaway sound appealing? A week away could be just the escape we all need from the day-to-day drudgery. Think of the possibilities: You could sleep in, take a break from your commute, or forgo cooking for a few days; you might try snowboarding, see a stunning vista, indulge in fine cuisine, or soak some sun. No matter the destination, the goal is generally the same: Restoration and revitalisation.

Not surprisingly, vacations can improve your personal health and well-being. We might readily think of the many personal benefits of a vacation, but there are other reasons to take a break. Scientists have identified the critical ways in which travel can benefit your romantic relationship.

A survey by a US travel association has found that travel strengthens partnerships, ignites romance and intimacy, and leads to healthier, happier relationships. According to the survey, “couples who travel together report higher levels of satisfaction with their relationships.” Those surveyed were asked to rate their relationships based on various factors (such as keeping romance alive, feeling emotionally close to a partner, and how much quality time couples spend together).

Those who had travelled as a couple rated their relationship higher on every single factor. On top of that, the survey indicated that couples who take on trips together actually see long-term improvements in different elements of the relationship, such as communication and their sex lives.

“Something happens when two people travel together,” explains relationship expert and strategist Elizabeth Overstreet, author of Love You and He Will Too: The Smart Woman’s Roadmap for Happy, Healthy Relationships.

“They spend time with one another, learn how to navigate and enjoy these new surroundings, and create new and fresh experiences with one another,” she says.

Time to bond, create memories

She notes that the beginning of a relationship often comes with intentionality around spending quality time with a significant other—it’s all about exploration, shared experiences, and a desire to simply become closer. After those first few months, though, relationships can hit the “autopilot” phase. Everything that once seemed so sparkly and new can feel like it’s lost its shine. That’s where packing your bags—together!—comes in.

“Travel helps break up the monotony, allows you to bond with your partner even more, and gives you the downtime to remember and reminisce on what brought you two together and continue strengthening your bond with one another,” Overstreet says.

In a paper titled “The Contribution of Vacationing Together to Couple Functioning,” which was published in the Journal of Travel Research, authors Mojtaba Shahvali, Deborah L Kerstetter, and Jasmine N Townsend found even more evidence pointing to the benefits of travel for couples. “As couples vacation together, their need for stability and emotional bonding as well as their need for change and novelty are better met, resulting in higher levels of relationship cohesion and flexibility,” the study notes.

Taking a vacation, near or far, allows you to take a break from reality. The stressors of everyday life can definitely take a toll on your relationship.

Whether its household duties, work, or family matters, the “day-to-day grind” gets in the way of putting in the quality time and attention your spouse deserves. Removing yourself from this atmosphere, even for a weekend, can allow you to focus on your relationship and spend quality time as a couple. They are called “getaways” for a reason. So limit your phone usage, be present, and take a break from life. This makes you feel better as an individual, and a happy you makes a happy spouse too!

Adventures create lasting memories to carry you through tough times. No matter the destination or length of trip, you will have experiences that you will remember forever. Even the adventures that go wrong end up making the best stories! The laughs you share, new sights you see, pictures you take, and activities you enjoy will become a part of you as a couple. You will find yourself talking about these memories all the time. Reminiscing about something only the two of you experienced or having inside jokes definitely bring you closer. Experiences together are priceless.

Travelling helps in rediscovering your partner’s attributes. “Travel, really is an amplifier of highlighting your partner’s attributes,” explains Overstreet. By this, she means that in relationships, one partner may be good at planning and organising the logistics of a trip, whereas the other partner may want to focus on booking activities and brainstorming fun things to do.

“When there is a division of tasks related to travel, it can open you up to learn more about your partner and highlight what you share in common or how you complement one another,” she says. Being out of your comfort zone and trying new things truly brings out new traits and interests you didn’t even know you had. Seeing different sides of your significant other makes the cliché idea of “falling in love all over again” possible! Learning new things about yourself and each other will strengthen your bond more than you realise.

Alternatives to traditional travel

It’s easy to fall into the thinking that a romantic trip or long vacation with your partner may help resolve existing problems—and, in some cases, that can be true—but given financial constraints, and the pressures that come with work and raising children, travel can’t just be booked at the drop of a hat.

Overstreet emphasises that a shared new experience doesn’t have to be a huge, bucket-list trip.

“People may get lost in thinking they have to do something grandiose when they think of travel. But, there is often a lot in your backyard, meaning in close proximity, that you two can explore inexpensively, but still be immensely joyful,” she says. Her recommendation? Take a road trip, explore a local sceneries such as a national park or waterfall, discover something new in your hometown together, or book a one- or two-night staycation at a local hotel.

Find things to do of mutual interest that give you and your partner the space to carve out intentional one-on-one time. “Sometimes the mini-getaways can be what is needed if you can’t do something that is for a longer time period,” she says.

Related Topics