Diary of a Marriage: Time To Get Away

Something I’ve realized about my husband and I: We’re way more fun when we’re out of town

Em & J. on their weekend getaway.

J. and I have had a few bottles of champagne in our refrigerator for over a year. We drank one on New Years Eve, but the others have remained untouched, pushed to the back of our Frigidaire behind rows of water bottles and Gatorade. There were plenty of opportunities to celebrate, too, but we never got around to uncorking the bubbly. Not when I got promoted; not even when the high-school tennis team J. coaches won the state title. We kept meaning to, but other things got in the way: We were too tired, we had work to do, we had to get up early the next morning.

And then, this past weekend, something happened. Perhaps it was the fact that this month has been more stressful than most, what with the gaping hole in our living room ceiling and J.’s slowly dying Volkswagen. Perhaps it was the heat. Whatever it was, we packed up the car (mine, not his) early Saturday morning, and drove to Hartford, Connecticut, for a concert. J. even packed a brown grocery bag full of candy and cookies and pretzels. He scrawled on the bag in thick, black marker: “Hartford Road Trip Food!”, we threw a six-pack of beer and a bottle of champagne into the trunk, and we were off. Our motto: Hartford or bust.

We turned up the radio and cracked the windows as we drove up 95. I took off my shoes and rested my feet on the dashboard, until J. pushed them down. (I once made the mistake of telling him that I’d heard it was dangerous to ride in a car with your legs up on the dash, since you were more likely to be seriously hurt if the air bag deployed, and he’s never let me ride that way again.)  We ate way too many Starbursts and gummy worms, way too early in the morning.

When we arrived at our hotel, we turned on the radio again, and filled up the tiny hotel ice bucket, our big bottle of champagne crunching through the ice as we stuffed it next to a few loose bottles of Bud Light. We didn’t even turn on the TV. We popped open the champagne, cracked open a beer, and toasted to summer. To a weekend of no laundry and no TV and no phone calls. And we talked and laughed and got quite tipsy at four o’clock in the afternoon.

After a little bit, we teetered out of the hotel and walked all around Hartford, giggling. At one point, J. did a little dance in the sidewalk. It was silly, and we were behaving ridiculously — what mature adults act this way? We walked and walked until we found an adorable little restaurant, where we sat and ate too much food. And then we walked around a park that we stumbled upon. We smiled at people and said hi. We were somehow lighter, sort of how we felt on our honeymoon.

It wasn’t an epic, jet-setting adventure. And at the end of the night, we were tired and our feet hurt, and the drive back to Pennsylvania the next day was long. But to get away for just a night — even to a decidedly unromantic spot like Hartford, Connecticut — was just what we needed.

The next day as we drove back, J. stopped and bought a carton of 25 mini doughnuts from Dunkin’ Donuts, and he ate them all. We cracked the windows and he let me keep my bare feet on the dash for just a little bit longer.

Now tell us: How do you and your significant other find time to get away? Do you plan exotic getaways or closer-to-home staycations? How much good does it do to get away?Tell us in the comments!

Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Philadelphia Weddings' guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.