When my husband and I got married at 21 years old we picked a wedding date that happened to fall during traditional Spring Break. It turned out to be quite fortuitous because at the time, I was starting my teaching career, and I was now guaranteed a week off every year on my anniversary.
Maybe it was the timing or maybe it was just a desire to travel, but from that year on, and every year since, we have traveled together on our anniversary. No matter what was going on in our lives, whether pregnancies or babies or poverty or general busyness, we put it all aside and hit the road.
In lean years, we packed a cooler and a tent and went camping for the weekend. In better years, we jetted off to Caribbean islands. One year, shortly after we had moved and with little money or time, we traveled just a couple hours away to a B&B, where we lay in hammocks and drank cheap wine.
It never mattered where we went. All that mattered was the attention to our marriage, exclusive of any other distractions. We would meet other couples doing the exact same thing, and we would all agree that travel was a key to a successful marriage.
The experts concur that there are a number of benefits to dating your partner, to traveling together, and to keeping up the romance in your relationship. In fact, the U.S. Travel Association regularly surveys couples and has collected some revealing data from both new and veteran relationships:
- 86 percent of couples who travel together report higher levels of satisfaction in their relationships and 94 percent report feeling very close to one another.
- Most couples who travel together believe they have much in common with their partner – shared interests and hobbies, agreement on finances, a nice balance of together and alone time, and a lot of fun together. It appears travel transcends immediate gratification – it actually impacts other aspects of your relationship.
- 71 percent feel that traveling gives them an opportunity to communicate without distractions.
- 72 percent of respondents said that traveling increases romance in their relationship. 58 percent say it increases intimacy; in fact, the vast majority of those surveyed said that travel improves intimacy and romance both immediately and in the long term.
Psychologists agree that traveling and dating are good for relationships. There are several reasons for that.
First, doing something new together increases passion. It’s the proverbial “foreplay begins the moment you wake up” philosophy. When a couple spends time building a campfire and toasting marshmallows or taking an archery class or going snorkeling together, they learn and experience together, building and solidifying their bond.
And bonus, you may learn something new about your partner as well! Novelty is intriguing to us. It’s why it’s so easy to fall for someone new when your own relationship grows stagnant. But if you are discovering things you didn’t know about your spouse – Hey! He can actually balance well enough to paddleboard! – the excitement returns.
Traveling is also an opportunity for shared growth. Learning together and broadening your perspectives helps you both grow in the same direction, not separate from each other. Seeing a third-world country together, for instance, may help you to feel compassion together, appreciate what you have at home, and maybe even volunteer together in a cause you both find worthy.
Both dating and travel offer chances to focus completely on one another. That may sound like a recipe for disaster, and it can be if you don’t agree ahead of time what the date or trip will entail. But if you communicate your desires and expectations, then cooperate and be mindful of each other, you increase your chances of enjoying every moment together.
Another benefit of carving out time for just the two of you is the recognition that having fun together is key to a happy marriage. Smiling and laughing together, enjoying good entertainment, and changing up the daily routine are all important to keeping your relationship exciting. These experiences also build shared memories that you can call on when things have grown tired and you need a boost.
Finally, dating and traveling together shows everyone – your spouse, your kids, your friends, and even your jobs – that your marriage is a priority. Sure, you can co-exist and have a solid marriage, but if you want to really keep the romance alive, make time for each other, have fun together, and create memories that will sustain you.
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