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Light up your marriage with an overnighter

The pressures of family life can be heavy at times. Earning a living, caring for the kids, keeping the house up, cooking meals or doing yard work can be overwhelming, at times. OK, most of the time. The list is endless yet necessary. However, there is another necessity that cannot be ignored. Couples need to take care of their marriages. If they don’t, they will fall in the category of disrepair.

Besides having a fun weekly date night, once in a while couples need to throw in an overnighter. That simply means, get away for a night and just be together enjoying each other without interruption. It’s as simple as being in a hotel in a neighboring city. It’s romantic to be somewhere else away from the responsibilities of home. Kids can’t knock on your bedroom door and say, “Mommy, I have to go potty!” Or “Whatcha doin’ in there? I need your help.”

Sometimes you just need to be away. You can enjoy it if you know your kids are well cared for. If you have parents nearby let them enjoy the grandkids for a night, or weekend. Or trade with a friend, “You take mine, and when you want a getaway we’ll take yours.”

Here are 6 guidelines to having a successful overnighter:

1. Plan it together. Anticipation can be part of the fun. Choose accommodations you will both enjoy. If you like to swim make sure it has a pool and a jacuzzi, and be sure to pack your swimsuits. You may or may not end up using them, but just in case you want to you’ll be prepared. Also, be sure to ask if the pool is open. You don’t want to choose that one if it’s under repair when you’ll be there, which happened to us once. Now we check.

2. Keep it close by. If it’s just for the night or weekend, closer is better than a long drive away. Of course, if you’re going to fly you can choose wherever you can afford to go. Not being able to go somewhere exotic should not stop you from going somewhere. This isn’t about having a full-fledged vacation. This is just a short, rejuvenating, affordable getaway. So keep it simple.

3. Look for deals. You can go online to find bargains for some hotels. Just google “hotel deals” and you’ll be surprised at the many offers. Don’t just settle for one you see online without calling the hotel directly. We’ve saved a considerable amount by dealing directly with the hotel reservations ourselves. If you have a price quote from an online source, you can ask them to beat the price, or at least match it. Sometimes, they will. If you are members of AAA, AARP or are a veteran don’t forget to ask for the discount.

4. Go camping, if that’s what you prefer. The two of you can have a fun time in a cozy tent snuggling in sleeping bags as you enjoy the solitude of the mountains. Take air mattresses to keep it comfortable. Both of you can share in the preparation of food, so it’s not a burden for either one. Do a little fishing, hiking, or nature walking — whatever appeals to you and is appropriate to the season. Just have fun being together without the pressure of wondering if a child might fall in the river.

5. Put your cell phones on silent. Instruct your babysitter and family members not to call you unless it’s an emergency. And, for goodness sake! Don’t you call them, or anyone else for that matter. This is a time to get away and relax. If you’ve made safe arrangements for them, you have no need to call when you’re gone for such a short time. Also, don’t use iPads or other electronic devices. If you’re going to bury yourself in them, you might as well not go. You can’t have a good time together if your thoughts and interests are elsewhere. Let this time be just for the two of you.

6. Catch a movie, a concert, a sports event, visit a spa, get a massage or something else you both enjoy. Before you go out for an evening event be sure to eat dinner first. What we like to do is check in as soon as we can, then go to an early dinner. Snuggling under covers later is much more fun if you’re not stuffed to the gills with a big dinner in your tummy. On one of our overnighters, we arrived too early to check in, so we went out for a late lunch, caught a matinee movie which was a high-adventure-heart-racing experience, then we checked into the hotel. To calm ourselves we decided to see a fun chick flick. That put our heart rate back on the right path and was lots of fun. We still laugh about that double-movie get-away.

It doesn’t matter your age. You can be newlyweds or long-time weds. The main thing is to just get away alone together and have some fun spicing up your marriage and cementing your relationship. Do this a couple of times a year and see the benefits. Believe us, there will be many.

Gary Lundberg is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Joy is a writer and lyricist. Together they present seminars and author books on relationships. Their website is garyjoylundberg.com, email gjlundberg@gmail.com