And it's often a disappointing experience, leaving a nagging might-have-been feeling that lingers like a grass stain on a white skirt.
Why? I mean, you're together, alone, and out from under most of the pressures than can make everyday life something of a trial.
Two things. lack of context and different expectations.
Lack of Context - We tend to define ourselves by what we do and where we are. My wife would say, "I'm an accountant, and I live in New Mexico" first, if someone asked.
But when we're on vacation, those ID hooks are temporarily put away. Suddenly we're free spirits, unattached, at least in our imaginations, in Hawaii or Yellowstone or Cleveland (do people vacation in Cleveland?).
And we act weird. We wear clothing that would blind a flock of sheep at a hundred paces, we drink too much, we eat things we'd never try at home, and our behavior just gets...well, screwy.
So the person we're with, and to whom we happen to be married, finds they are relating to a side of you they don't know. Intimacy has to grow into the Hawaiian shirt and "dance till 3 am" persona.
And you have to adjust to the temporarily new person your mate's become, as well.
Different Expectations - On a vacation, most men are hoping for sport and sex. Sorry to be blunt, but there it is.
Most women want romance, intimacy, and engagement (with their spouse, and with the place they're visiting.
It's a recipe for collision, and disappointment through frustration or through grudging acquiescence.
What can we do to improve our chances for a fun, fulfilling, loving, and above all memorable vacation?
It's not hard. It just takes some planning, some communication, and some compromise
Choose your destination wisely - Try to pick a spot that offers what you enjoy together, and at least one thing that each of you can enjoy separately.
It's obvious that you should be able to enjoy most of what your vacation offers as a couple. It's important not to pretend - don't go along to get along. Be specific, and work together at finding what you'll both truky enjoy. Giving in and later being able to play the martyr defeats the whole purpose.
Why separately? because tired happens, sick happens, and sometimes people just need to be alone. Being able to tell your mate, "Look, I'm not feeling too great, but you go, and have fun! I'll be looking forward to hearing about your afternoon when you get back," - that's a gift.
Plan ahead - work out at least a general schedule for each day, and make sure the activities you want are available on the days you set aside for them.
Spending a couple of hours after breakfast trying to figure out what to do can ensure that you don't do much of anything. It's easy to spend so much time deciding what to do that you don't have time to actually do it.
Take into account differences - Okay, sensitive topic. Guys, you need to understand that your wife may get far more from holding hands in the moonlight that she will from intercourse. Give her that gift, not to get what you want...but because you love her, and want her to be happy.
Gals, remember that your husband married you partly because he wanted you - physically. For men, courtship is partly pursuit, with one goal being...well, sex. It's not the whole thing, but for every man, that's part of it.
And after years of marriage...he still wants you. That's something to honor.
Have contingency plans - If it rains, what will you do? (Guys, not the obvious, please.)
Make sure that there are activities or events that you can enjoy no matter what the weather. Sitting in a lobby and watching rain gets tiresome after awhile.
Commemorate! - Take pictures, take videos. Bring home ample resources for scrapbooking - and do the scrapbook.
You don't need to go overboard on souvenirs, though. What looks like a cute memento in the gift shop is often something that will have no logical place in your home when you get back.
A spousal getaway can be a wonderful treat...and it can rejuvenate a marriage that's starting to feel stale. With a little bit of care, foresight, and consideration, it can exceed your expectations and become a memory you'll cherish for decades to come.
This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.