A wise man once told me and my husband that the one piece of marital advice he had for parents with young children was to take regular trips together, for two or three nights, without the kids. I'm here to share this advice with you because I follow it and it's been invaluable to all aspects of my life, especially my marriage.
After receiving this advice my husband and I agreed to take quarterly trips for 2-3 nights, and although it's always hard to get away from work and leave the kids, we never regret it. We don't always go far, and the trip doesn't have to be elaborate, in fact we have been known to go to random towns like Mendocino, California and stay in a B&B for a few days. Day 1, we are decompressing and sneaking quick glances at our emails; Day 2, we are focused on the present and reconnecting; and by Day 3, we are reminded that we really have fun together and wish the trip could be extended another day. These feelings can sometimes get lost in the day to day juggling of work and children, and quarterly trips are a very doable way of making sure we stay on the right track.
Of course, it's never easy to leave our kids and every time I'm about to leave on a trip I have this overwhelming anxiety about leaving home. "I am too busy at work to take a trip and in any event, how can I abandon my kids even more when I'm already working every day and missing out on bits of their lives?" But I'll tell you, the minute I'm on a plane or in the car that guilt is swept away by relief and exhaustion, and I instantly view the trip as a necessity. No longer is my job or the kids my priority, for these few days my marriage and own sanity is. And I return from each trip with my priorities back in check.
I believe that kids need to see their parents enjoying their lives together. I realize not everyone has the financial means or the support at home to be able to leave for a few days every three months, but if you can pull it off, do it. Remember, it doesn't have to be expensive and it doesn't have to be far, but it does have to incorporate things you both like to do together. Ultimately, when we are feeling connected and aligned with our spouse, our kids must benefit too.