One of the ways that couples have always been able to manage the happiness and contentment within their relationship was time away. Even just a date night once a month while grandma and grandpa watch the kids helps. That allows mom and dad to get time away from the house, responsibilities, and the kids for at least a short time.
Planning longer getaways like road trips or vacation trips to places with gorgeous resorts like Hawaii were often the dreams that kept relationships going. Research has shown that the act of planning a trip (Cornell University 2014) . . . just the act of anticipating it . . . substantially increases a person’s happiness, even more than the anticipation of buying material goods. An earlier study, published by the University of Surrey in 2002, found that people are at their happiest when they have a vacation planned.
Trip Planning Increases Happiness
One of the authors of the Cornell study said that when people are planning a trip they tend to talk about it. They ask what other people’s experiences were, they ask for advice, they share their own experiences. In other words, they connect more with people.
One of the pandemic’s many challenges that it has thrown at us is greatly reducing our ability to connect with other people. But at the same time, we’re craving those those connections more than ever. It can be tempting to want to start planning a trip right now. After all, gas is cheap and hotels and flights are offering better deals than ever. But it can also be stressful to spend money and time planning a trip and spending money on something that you’re not sure you’ll actually be able to take. Would the benefits of anticipating something fun really help all that much right now?
We Need More Travel Days
As adults continue to work from home in more stressful situations, keep the kids home everyday, and take less vacation days, relationships between everyone in the home are bound to suffer. One recent study from 2015 in the Journal of Travel Research (serious … who knew there was a whole research journal devoted to travel studies? I didn’t.) sought to understand “how vacation satisfaction may enhance relationship commitment and possibly build stronger relationships and lessen the chance of relationship termination for adult couples.” That sounds like a fancy way of saying “we wanted to see how travel could keep couples from breaking up.” Of course, this was before the pandemic, but they found that relationship satisfaction is a good predictor of relationship commitment. They also found that satisfaction with vacations helps to explain couples’ relationship commitment.
I’m not a therapist, but I’m here to say that not wanting to plan a trip or arguing over trip planning may indicate some larger issues in your relationship. If you believe that your relationship could benefit from couples counseling or even individual counseling, check out ReGain today to learn more.