We might want a week away but need to settle for three hours. We might need a week away, but have to settle for a cup of coffee at the corner cafe! We might want a trip to Europe but need to be content with an overnight stay in an adjacent city. We need to find ways that will work practically and financially.
As caregivers we’re on call 24/7 – and getting away without interruption rarely occurs, so when an opportunity knocks say, “Yes!” Every married couple needs time alone, time to focus on each other, time to rejuvenate – when care-giving and special needs are involved that opportunity is harder to find. You can’t just pick up and take off—ever, without involving and including others to help make it happen.
Everyone has different options and choices. We were blessed in the early years of caring for a child with special needs with grandparents who were willing and able to care for Joey, so we tried to use that time for “us” whenever we could. Not all couples will have this particular option, so before you stop reading and say, “This doesn’t work for us,” realize that some of us might need to be more creative than others in getting what we need. If we don’t try to figure out ways to make things work for us, it is doubtful that some stranger will approach us and say, “Perhaps I can help.” Creativity and flexibility must stay high on our list as we work through taking care of our marriage, and all of life.
For us, pampering our marriage ranged from staying home and going to bed together early when the grandparents took the children overnight, to a weekend away forty-five minutes from home, to a nice twelve-day vacation out of the country. We liked the out-of-the-country pampering the best because short of an emergency, no one would call us. Selfish, you say? Perhaps for some, but for others, it’s self-preservation and rejuvenation!
Does your enjoyment come from playing golf? Then diligently search for someone who can handle the responsibilities of special needs long enough to get to the golf course to play nine holes! (Even if 18 sounds better!) Or perhaps running, swimming, or taking a dance or foreign language class will give a couple the sense of enjoyment and rejuvenation that will allow the pair to go back home to life as usual with a fresher outlook. We can’t do life as usual for very long without some kind of relief from the pressures of caring for another’s full-time needs.
Whatever you do, pamper that marriage!