In one of my personal conversations with Dr. James Dobson while I worked at Focus on the Family, he asked me if I ever got away with my wife. “Nah,” I replied. “Wendy and I are too busy with kids!” I thought I was funny, but Doc didn’t.
“Alone,” Dr. Dobson emphasized. This was twelve years ago. His words haunt me now and again, especially when trudging through the complexities of large-family living. But I’ve certainly grown to realize how important they are in marriage. Dr. and Shirley Dobson have been married for 56 years.
Earlier in our marriage we shrugged off its importance. Kids, I reasoned, were more important. So was work, our livelihood, commitments, activities, yada yada yada.
Nonsense. Nothing is more important than our marriage. We need our time. Alone.
Shortly after I left Focus on the Family in 2004, Dr. Dobson’s admonition began creeping up on us. Self-employment was hard its first few years, but as the president of my own nonprofit ministry, I took full advantage of off-season weekend getaways at the YMCA of the Rockies. Wendy and I would take yearly trips to Estes Park.
Last year we outdid ourselves and took a two-week trip to Australia. We fudged a little on our alone principle and spent the two weeks with our daughter, Alissa, and her husband, Assad. We loved our time with them, vacationing together along Great Ocean Road seeing the best Melbourne had to offer. Though we weren’t technically “alone,” we felt like it was a second honeymoon.
Tomorrow on April 20, Wendy and I are celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We’ll be celebrating on a beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico. We have a week of swimming, snorkeling, camping, hiking, touring, eating, and relaxing in the plans. I hope to post pictures and thoughts everyday to keep you posted, just as I did when we went to Australia last year.
I like this yearly routine. And if you’re married, you should get away, too. No kids. Just you and your spouse.