“Shortly after my honeymoon, I remember telling my therapist that trips with my husband felt a little lack luster and it would probably be more fun with a friend in tow.
I thought she’d tell me to stop outsourcing my needs to other people and start spending more time with the man I married, but instead she said this:
‘Of course, it would be! Friends serve a different purpose than spouses. And if you need some to come along—to add to the dynamic and conversation—then do it! You make the rules in your marriage.’
It was that kind of permission that led us to Mexico with some of our favorite friends and one of our best vacations yet. The guys golfed. The girls stayed poolside. We all met for meals and drinks and memories were made.
During their time with us there was a lot of talk and a lot of tequila. It was fun and lively and engaging. But after they left, and my husband and I decided to extend our stay, there was a lot of silence. Shawn, my incredible husband, had run out of words. We went to a wonderful lunch in a private bungalow over the Rivera and after we talked about logistics like budgets and repainting our daughter’s room, he dozed off.
In the past I would’ve been annoyed. I would’ve felt the need to fill the gaps in our conversation because surely, they equated to gaps in our marriage.
But coming off the time with our friends, sitting still seemed a lot more appealing than speaking. I finished my drink, found a crocodile friend, and let the warm breeze flood my body as I turned to my other love: My book.
I may not have a man who always speaks, but I have someone to sit with. I have a partner who provided this beautiful trip that I planned. With him, there may not be a lot of words, but there’s never any pushback (or jealousy, or anger, or greed). He lets me be me.
And so, in that bungalow, I returned the favor.
There’s no rule book for relationships. So free yourself from the ‘should’s’ and start making plans that bring you the most joy. For us, it was a few days with friends and then an extended few days for ourselves. The perfect blend of extroverted fun and quiet reflection.
Our marriage may look different than some, but we’re paving a new path toward ever after.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Stephanie Hanrahan. Follow Stephanie on Facebook here, Instagram here and visit her website here. The article originally appeared here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more from Stephanie here:
‘You have the perfect family.’ That’s what they saw. A life tied up in a pretty little bow. No one could’ve known what was happening behind closed doors.’: Mom discusses life with 2 special needs children
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