Do you ever get away without the kids? Is it a good or bad idea?

My wife and I have 5 kids ages 8 to 16. Needless to say they keep us extremely busy. We’re running to sports practices, scouts, etc most nights after I get home from work. That generally leaves us with very little time together. After almost 20 years we’ve been to Retrovaille and counseling and now TRY to get 2 hours out of the house together once a week. We’ve never even done this much without the kids for the past 16 years and I feel it kinda shows in our relationship. We’ve learned – or were told – by counselors that the marriage has to come first and that we need to make time to be together and reconnect once in a while.

I thought it might be helpful (as counselors have suggested) to get away together for a weekend – maybe even a long weekend – once in a while. Maybe only once a year. She says that NO ONE does that and the ONLY couple she knows that’s ever gone away together have the WORST marriage out of all her friends. At this point, I realize it may be too little, too late but I would still like to see if I’m way off base on this and the counselors are wrong or if people in good marriage actually DO get away and do things without the kids once in a while.

I realize, as you do, that it may be hard with 5 kids. But certainly not impossible. We went to Retrovaille weekend and they said we MUST stay at the hotel for the weekend and weren’t allowed to go home. We made arrangements for the kids and did it. So it’s not totally impossible. But is it just impractical or even a downright BAD idea??

Thanks for your input

Your youngest is 8. He or she is more than capable of being away from you for a grand total of 2 days. I think it’s a great idea.

Our youngest so far is 2.5 now and we had 24 hours away from them as a couple for the first time in 6 years. It was amazing for us as a couple.

FWIW, the kids might feel good about being away from you - and with another loving person or elsewhere safe and fun - for a weekend, too.

P.S. I voted both 2 and 3 - I’m not a fan of leaving, say, nursing infants. But a 2+yo is usually fine without parents for a weekend with a person they love and trust, in my experience.

Uh, of course it’s fine. Send them to Grandma’s or Auntie’s or hire an overnight sitter. I wouldn’t go away overnight if I had a nursing baby, but your youngest is 8!

The best thing you can do for your children is to put your spouse first. Your children are older and it’s time to rekindle the romance. If your wife Does not want to “get away” with you, it’s not because of the kids.

No, it is a great idea!!! I wholeheartedly agree with the premise that the best thing you can do for your kids is to have a good marriage. Time alone to reconnect is essential, but it too often gets pushed aside and all of our focus and energy goes towards the kids. Over a long period of time this wears away at your relationship and before you know it, you don’t even remember what it was like to talk and have fun with the person you love most.

I think it is tough to get away for a weekend with your number of kids and their ages, but it is not impossible. Having family around helps tremendously, but even having some of the younger ones spend the night at friends house and the older ones fending for themselves for a couple of days can be an option.

Even if your wife is totally dead set on leaving for a weekend at this time, I would definitely try to establish a regular date night…even if it is a couple of hours ever week or so. Doesn’t have to be elaborate or cost much money, it just needs to be time where you guys can focus on your relationship…the good stuff!!

We are enormously blessed to have my MIL who has helped us have a date night almost every Friday for years… the older ones normally spend the night too!
(I will caveat that infants/toddlers are always tag-a-longs… but they’re usually easy to have nursing under a cover an fall asleep on my lap! :p)
This has been a huge blessing for our marriage… time to get away together and just LAUGH and TALK. We do often go out with other couples and socialize - which is great too… but other times we just have take-out chinese and watch a movie on the couch! Ahhh, the quiet adult time is GLORIOUS!

Getting “away” is harder… especially when the kids are really young. We did go away for one night to a fancy hotel (kids stayed with my MIL) for our 10th anniversary, but that’s not a regular routine by any means.

Definitely - a necessary part of keeping our marriage strong. I’m SO GRATEFUL to my MIL for this!

Go. Your marriage must come first. My mother-in-law has always maintained that the couple must put each other first (after God), then together they put the children ahead of job and friends. That means you make time for each other EVERY DAY, even if it’s only 15 minutes for a cup of coffee. You have no infants in the house… surely even an 8 year old can keep occupied without parental attention for 15 to 30 minutes a day. In the evening, in the morning, whatever works best for you, and you focus on each other, not the kids. They get plenty of your time and attention.

A weekend–or even a full day–away, just the two of you every other month or so should be doable for you. Head out in the morning, grab a coffee and a bagel on your way (even teenagers can handle a breakfast of cold cereal and get everyone else up) and do something you love to do and don’t get to do… or do something completely new! It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant… it just has to be about you two. Surely there is one Saturday that isn’t tied up with sports practice or some other obligation. And if there isn’t, maybe you need to rethink your schedule and MAKE the time.

It will be hard the first time or two. But think about the long term… 10 more years before your youngest goes off to college or starts his or her own life… do you want to find yourself married to a complete stranger? You and your wife must grow together, you are one, and you will be a better model of a husband and wife to your children if you are happy and strongly united.

I grew up around families with as many as ten or even 16 kids. Yes, the parents leave the kids occasionally for a weekend, and the farm and cows, too. When kids leave the house or are all adults, then you leave for a week or a month at a time!!

The kids do not need you two to be hanging around every day. They need some adult supervision, but it doesn’t have to be you. You’re going to have to let go of them someday! Instead, they need to learn to keep the place running on a minimal level without you, provided you have stocked the pantry and freezer accordingly. The adult you send over to supervise can content himself/herself with being the sheriff.

I agree with the poster who said to set aside a time with each other, sacrosanct, every day. Fifteen minutes will do it. It doesn’t have to be “romantic”, but give yourself one of the more pleasant places in the house. If your spouse is out of town and cannot be reached by phone, then take the time, anyway. With all those kids, even deep breaths have to be scheduled, if you’re going to get some air for yourself! Otherwise, you’re going to be going anaerobic from dawn until dusk. Nobody is going to want to live with you, not even your kids.

Hmmm, you’re talking about jumping from 2 hours together to a whole weekend, and your wife is concerned about that. I would suggest that you work up to the wekend gradually, so that your wife’s concern about the children will be allayed gradually, otherwise you may spend the weekend with a woman who is a nervous wreck the entire time!

Also, don’t forget family time: it seems like a lot of the time spent on the children revolves around activities and the like. She is also seeing that the children a re growing and away, so now is a good time to get away or spend time as a family without outside stuff going on *as well. *The combination of the two may reduce your wife’s concerns.

I’m the original poster. Thanks for all the replies but to answer about family time, we DO go camping and on vacations several times a year with the family. EVERYTHING we do is with the kids. We homeschool the kids, we are active in their scout troops, in the summer we bike ride, run and play outdoors with the kids, in the winter we go to the gym together, we spend ALL our time together (except when I am at work of course) – so there is no shortage of “family time” – it’s just that family time is all-consuming and DW feels that that is what is needed and should be the focus, not selfishly spending time together without the kids.

I think it’s a great idea if both of you are on board. If your wife does not feel comfortable with leaving the kids, enough so that she will be unhappy on your weekend getaway, then it might not be the best idea. :slight_smile:

You and your wife need to fall back in love. This is going to take some time and effort on both of you.

I would recommend following your counselor’s advice and making more time for eachother.

I don’t see a problem with leaving the kids with a trusted adult for a couple of days.

Think of it like this: the upheaval a child would feel for a weekend away is nothing. That amount of time is the perfect amount for an 8 yearold to have an adventure.

The upheaval your children may feel if you and your wife can’t work through your issues will be lifelong.

As some others have said, and with all due respect to your wife, your marriage must come first. There is nothing selfish about spending time without the kids, especially at their ages.

Hmmmmm… I do know that when the wife has asked to go away for the weekend to some romantic place for say our anniversary, I will not go as I do not wish to take the risk of driving somewhere together and getting killed in an accident and leaving the child an orphan. I have worked several Psych. Facilities and I know the horror stories of some foster homes. ( We are a small family and have no relatives that are able to take over the child as we married late in life)

My daughter is now just turned 18 and I am just now able to consider the idea of going away for the weekend with the wife.

But that is just me.

That’s sad. Are you saying that you haven’t had a single romantic getaway with your wife for 18 years? :frowning:

Or anywhere else, I would imagine. They can’t travel together ever. Even to the store.

In fact, following this logic, they wouldn’t travel even with their child. What if there was an accident that killed both parents, but not the child?

It’s not only great for you, but great for the kids. Kids feel safer when they know that there are others who can care for them, provide them with safety. It demands they adapt to different circumstances, and they develop confidence in handling new situations.

But there must be good options for their care while you are away, and I assume there are.

As to the “best” marriages. The longest and most stable ones I have seen (I am 63) have always involved rather a lot of independence for both children and parents. Interestingly, all these families have had little TV, lots of family meals, but also very independent lives that came together in the center - home and Church, for mutual support and exchange of experience. And the couple was adamant about having their own time together.

One - no two - of the families always sent the kids away and had "home vacations. The kids went to camps or grandma or an aunt’s farm, I think, and the parents had a week of dating and hanging out at least once a year. They would have gone away themselves but money was at issue. The kids got to get away form each other and the parents. One of those families the couple has been happily married for - must be over 40 years now.

I knew another family where the couple had an interest they did together, they did ballroom dancing and competed. This would get them out once or twice a week and sometimes they traveled for competitions.

I’m wondering why your wife feels this way so strongly? I wonder if she has fallen prey to the state many women get into where they so identify with being moms, which they do 24/7, that they have a hard time finding much identity without actively caring for their children? I’m just wondering if it makes sense for you to throw her out of the house by herself once a week, you take care of the kids, and she can take a class, or go to a movie, or hang out with a friend or volunteer somewhere, anything to find herself more as an individual?

I could be totally off-base. But please be patient with her. Her life really is quite different from yours and her way of thinking is, too. God bless you both.

My oldest is 11 and my wife and I try to get out on a date night every month or two. I believe one of the most important yet most overlooked aspects of child rearing is keeping your marriage strong. The kids need to see that their mother is loved, how to treat each other in marriage and that their family is safe.

Sounds like my family!!

What do you (OP) do on a daily basis to foster the connection with your wife? If you’re disconnected on a daily basis, I can see why she might consider an abrupt weekend away “just because” to be hollow, or even counter-productive.

In the same vein, does she get a little time to just be by herself? If not, the weekend trip could be just another to-do she has to finish for someone else, with little in it for herself.

You mentioned that you try for a couple hours a week “away” with her. How does she feel about this time? Are you consistent with it? What’s her feedback afterward? Do you try to get time with her at home, too? (Have the older kids take the younger ones to the park, or whatever?)

How’s your/her faith life? Do you pray together, or do any faith activities together (beyond stuff with the kids)?

Finally, the indelicate question - how much of this is about sex? If you’re disconnected in other areas, this can suffer as well…though one partner may focus more on the lack of satisfying sex and miss the global disconnect that led to it.

Individual counseling, in conjunction with marital counseling, might be the best option to get you each communicating more effectively and finding ways to connect daily, rather than just a random one-off trip.

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