The Secret to a Satisfying Vacation with your Spouse

An annual summer trek to Florida is made all the more interesting when one’s trek does NOT involve children; adult or otherwise. Just two spouses. Together. Seven days.

Alone.

My husband and I met and married in the throes of empty-nesting; and most of our vacations have been accompanied by various assortments of adult kids and grandkids.

We hardly know what to do with one another when we are alone.

Wait. Let me re-phrase that.

Not true. We absolutely know what to do with each other when we are alone, we just did not know what to anticipate or how we would interact on VACATION when we are alone.

So when we set off for seven entire days at the beach, it was with a bit of trepidation on my part, but hopeful optimism that even though we were over 50 and relatively set in our ways, we might re-kindle a bit of romance bouncing in the surf.

My husband, the energizer bunny.

After several intense and meaningful discussions around our individual expectations for the trip, my husband, who nodded off several times during these scintillating conversations, nonetheless brimmed with eager energy when we boarded the plane.

We’d agreed that the first day would be spent on the beach, doing nothing but playing in the water and soaking up the rays. So far, so good.

Day Two, the tug-o-war began. My husband, the energizer bunny-man; and I, the please-let-me-lay-on-the-beach-with-a-book-woman, crafted a pretty good compromise, I thought; by agreeing on morning beach time, and after lunch, an activity or two.

Or three.

Or four, if the decisions is left to my husband.

So Day Two, after lunch, we head up the coast to Clearwater, not foreseeing the inevitable traffic or the older population’s driving habits (slow…and slower) . So we finally arrive in a haze of irritability, park with some difficulty due to the crowds; and visit a public beach, restaurant, and various painted dolphins standing on their tails. By the time we get back to our condo several hours later, I have just enough energy to walk out to the beach and watch the sunset.

My husband suggests several restaurants, jet ski rental, a dolphin watch cruise or a quick drive to Sarasota, an hour and a half away. I look at him like he is crazy. We have been married long enough for him to correctly interpret this as: “I just laid out on the beach half a day, drove with you to Clearwater, hung out on a public beach, ate lunch at a restaurant, walked around admiring bizarro-painted dolphins standing on their tails…and you want me to DO MORE STUFF??? SERIOUSLY?? Without even a hint of an argument, he says “Umm, okay, let’s just stay in tonight.”

I think this means our marriage is progressing nicely. There was a time when he would have no clue why I had that irritated look on my face, and a marathon discussion would ensue. At least we are becoming more efficient with our communication.

Day Three arrives, and I ask if we can stay in and lay on the beach all day; with a few breaks for lunch in the condo. He gives me his long-suffering look, which I correctly interpret as: “What are you TALKING about? We fly all the way to Tampa, rent a car, drive to the beach; are surrounded by tons of cool stuff to do, which I have listed in an organized and obvious manner, and you want to STAY ON THE BEACH? SERIOUSLY?” Continue reading