Friday, January 15, 2016

Five Married Vacation Do’s for Dudes

Living Lessons:  Five Married Vacation Do’s for Dudes
By: Christopher Wiles
     When a deacon at church suggested I use some of the Christmas bonus we received to take my wife on a vacation, I thought, “Ashley will never go for that.”   She’s a thrifty penny pincher that has been one of the primary forces in ensuring our family is in sound financial condition.  A vacation just doesn’t fit her near future plans of home upgrades, children’s orthodontics, and vehicle repairs.  Hello $30 airfare and remote island camping!  This article isn’t detailing our recent trip (which you can learn more about by CLICKING HERE) but is about wisdom I gleaned from our first real vacation together (sans kids & work) in nearly a decade.   While this is directed to husbands, we could all benefit from more of these moments.

1)      Invest time in things she wants.  Sunrise seashelling doesn’t sound too exciting does it? 
It sounds so mundane that just saying the word “seashelling” five times fast seems like it would be more adventurous than actually going. I would rather be fishing, yet my wife’s morning suggestion turned out to be my favorite part of the trip (and picking up a live octopus IS adventurous).  Invest time and energy doing what she wants to do.  Plus, you'll be grateful when she invests time in your interests in return, like when she came up with the idea of using a seashore vine for my fish stringer!
2)      Cook the meals.  Does your wife organize the meals at home?  In many marriages, whether she has a full time job or is a full time stay at home wife, your wife plans meals.  Give her a vacation from meal preparation.  It doesn’t matter if you are sautéing vegetables over an open fire, making instant Spanish rice over your little camp stove, or cooking up a wild, protected, illegal fish (I still plea ignorance); spend time cooking the meals for her.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to let her sit and read a book while you do the work this time. (For extra deposits in the old “Love Bank”, make sure to do the dishes too!)
3)      Let her tell the story.  You’ve invited the neighboring campsite residents over to your fire to eat some of the massive amount of Spanish rice you cooked (portion planning was never your forte anyway), so make sure she isn’t only included in the conversation, but that she leads some of it.  When the other couple asks about your kids or how you met, remember that these are parts of life that she cherishes and spends more time focusing on than you.  Defer to your beautiful bride to share these joyful moments and enjoy it as her smile grows with each word.
4)      Slow down.  You’re a dude; you’re adventurous; you’re successful because you pack every resourceful moment you have in life full of practical and beneficial work.  It really wouldn’t hurt you to plan to let your wife read a book in your hammock, while you sit quietly next to her, ready for any conversation she might be willing to have.  You don’t have to squeeze every ounce of adventure out of every moment.  Your wife’s relaxation and conversation can produce wonderful adventures later.  Trust me (Wink Wink)!
5)      Pack her Bible.  You are the “spiritual head” of your house. 
Make sure her Bible goes on the trip with her.  Are you packing light for a flight?  Since you are handy with technology, make sure it gets installed on her cell phone/kindle/ipad device.  Make sure you read it every morning when you wake up to set the tone for the day.  You may be surprised by the deep spiritual insight your wife offers that benefits your vacation like when she comes up with this tidbit from Psalm 104 after picking up that octopus that tried to eat your hand! "How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your  creatures. 25 There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small."

Above all, let the following verses guide your life and vacation planning.
25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing  her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.” – Ephesians 5:25-29

Even a short & inexpensive vacation like ours (2 nights on a island) can be a great spiritual boon in your relationship.  I want to give a big "Thank you!" to the deacon that encouraged me to invest in my wife.