Vacations are supposed to be a fun time of relaxation with our families, a time when we make beautiful memories to cherish forever. Unfortunately, it’s easy for a vacation to become stressful and anything but peaceful.
How is it that a wonderful trip together can often bring out our worst?
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus. Col. 3:17 NLT
Here are some tips I have learned about vacation issues to help you build up your marriage and family. (They may even come in handy at home, too!)
10 Peaceful Wife Vacation Tips
Share what you would like to do with your husband in a friendly, polite, non-pressuring way.
- Remember that your respectful approach is often more important than what you ask for.
- Keep in mind that the way you approach your husband is your powerful example to your children of how you want them to approach you, your husband, and other people in positions of authority in their lives.
- If you have to sin in order to get what you want, whatever you wanted is not going to be worth it in the end. (Gal. 5:16)
- Avoid insulting or humiliating your husband, children, and others. Avoid arguing, complaining, freaking out, taking control (except for an emergency where it is truly necessary), and bitterness, etc…
- Don’t let the vacation become more important to you than pleasing Christ or more important than your marriage or family relationships. Even a vacation can become an idol if we are not careful (something that we desire more than we desire Jesus).
- Treat your husband with honor and respect because this honors the Lord. (Rom. 12:10, Eph. 5:33)
- Treat yourself with respect, as well. (Think rightly about yourself according to God’s Word.)
If you and your husband don’t agree on what to do (after you have both shared your preferences), seek to have a cooperative spirit.
- Try to be open to the good aspects of his idea and think of his plans as a gift he wants to give you and your family. Don’t immediately assume his idea is awful.
- Remember that you are both on the same team!
- Don’t push to go beyond your budget or pressure him to go into debt. (Rom. 13:8)
- He may be trying to do a good job leading, why not be supportive? (Col. 3:18-19, 1 Cor. 11:3)
- This may end up being your favorite trip, ever! Who knows? If you have an adventurous spirit and are open to receiving the experience he wants to share, it could bless your marriage and family.
- If he asks you to do something you are seriously unable to do or that completely terrifies you, it is important to respectfully share your fears and concerns. If he wants to go to an amusement park he thinks the kids will enjoy, but you get motion sickness, you don’t have to ride the rides. You could say something like, “I can’t ride anything, but I am happy to go with you and enjoy watching you and the kids have fun.”
- (Note – if you or your children are not safe in your marriage, please get experienced, trusted help ASAP! And if your husband or children are not safe with you, please get help for yourself ASAP!)
Keep things in perspective.
- Each person’s desires, ideas, and preferences about a trip are important. Both spouses want and need to feel heard and to know that they each have a voice.
- But it’s critical to remember that the marriage covenant and how you treat each other is much more important in God’s eyes than where you go and what you do for a few days. (Matt. 22:46-40, 1 Cor. 13:4-6)
- You have tons of influence and power as a wife/mom to make or break the entire trip because you are the precious heart of the family. You are like the thermostat and you generally get to set the emotional temperature for everyone.
- The way we treat others, including our family members, is the litmus test God uses for our love for Him. We treat others with love because God loves us and we love Him. (Matt. 25:40, 1 John 4:19-21)
- Take responsibility for yourself spiritually. Focus most on your character and the way you think, speak, and act as you invite the Holy Spirit to help you set a godly example for everyone around you. (Gal. 5:22-23)
Pray for yourself, your family, and those around you.
- Don’t take a vacation from a strong prayer life or from time with the Lord and His Word when you are on a trip. Write in your prayer journal. Set aside some time, even when you are waiting in lines to pray God’s blessing, favor, and promises over your husband, your children, those around you, the city (and state and country) where you are visiting, and yourself. (1 Thess. 5:17) Meditate on Scripture. Set your mind on praising and thanking God. Confess any sins right away to Him.
- Invite God to do miracles and amazing things in your every day life and all around you – at home and away. He is always with you and always ready to accomplish His good purposes in your life. (Heb. 13:5, Rom. 8:28-29)
- Things don’t always go as planned. That is just how this life is sometimes. Your response is often more important than the problems that come up. With Jesus, you can choose to respond with grace, understanding, love, kindness, joy, and peace.
- If you can’t go on a trip this year, decide to make amazing memories at home. Great family memories don’t have to be expensive! And they don’t have to be out-of-town, even. A trip is a luxury, not a right or necessity.
- Be ready to think of the detours and obstacles as an adventure to share together. God may have an amazing blessing to give you through something that seems bad, at first, no matter where you are.
- If a really difficult trial arises, turn to the Lord in faith and trust and thank Him that He is with you. Ask Him to be glorified even in the midst of the trial. (James 1:2-4)
Maintain a sense of humor and fun.
- If your flight gets delayed, a storm comes, plans change, or someone gets sick or injured (and it is not major), see if you can find some fun even in the problems. It may be that this situation becomes a treasured family story that you will all look back on and enjoy… eventually.
- A great sense of humor, especilaly when it is shared together, can smooth over a lot of rough patches.
- Going through trials and problems can be really bonding if you have the right attitude.
- Ask God to empower you to be a blessing to your husband and kids.
- Focus on the good. (Phil. 4:8)
- Practice thanksgiving. (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
Be willing to let go of control.
- Accept that things will not be perfect and not all go exactly the way you want them to go. Choose to trust God rather than cling to an illusion of control.
- When we try to control things, we only make everyone around us (including ourselves) miserable.
- You can still relax and enjoy things, even if it wasn’t exactly what you had envisioned.
- Be open to new things and changes in plans and allow the Lord to lead in your life in ways you don’t expect. (James 4:13-14)
- Experience God’s freedom for you from worry and fear. (2 Tim. 1:7)
Be aware of moments to share God’s love with your husband, children, and those around you.
- As believers in Christ, we are always on mission wherever we go. (Matt. 28:19)
- Invite God to show you opportunities to be to share the gospel, share part of your testimony, or to be the mouth, hands, and feet of Christ to strangers around you.
- Yes, even in the airport, at a rest stop, in the theme park, or on the street of a major city.
- Maybe you can take fresh to-go cups of ice-cold drinks out to some homeless people right outside of the restaurant where you eat lunch, if your husband is on board with it.
- Who knows what a blessing you and your family could be?
- Also be on the lookout for opportunities to demonstrate God’s love and grace to your husband and family.
- Maybe you can use time in a long line to sing a praise song to the Lord, (in a way that is respectful of others around you). Or maybe you can use waiting time to read or listen to God’s Word alone or with your husband or children. Or you can ask everyone to name things they are thankful for or to share their favorite parts of the trip so far. Even the times of waiting can be a blessing if you have a wonderful attitude.
- Maybe you and your husband would be excited to do a family mission trip for vacation? There are organizations that can help provide opportunities for this. Imagine the joy of sharing Christ with others together as a family!
If everyone is getting tired or grumpy, invite God to give you and your husband His Spirit for strength, patience, wisdom, and discernment.
- Your good attitude may just be contagious.
- Try not to over schedule yourselves. Rushing and hurrying adds so much stress! It is impossible to enjoy things when you are in a huge hurry. The bigger the rush, the more tempting it will be to snap at each other and be irritated. No one needs that!
- Recognize each family member’s limits and seek to accomodate them wisely.
- Ultimately, remember that the people you love are more important than the plans and schedule.
- Life is way too short to get upset over little things that ultimately won’t really matter.
Carry a sense of wonder with you.
- Notice the little beautiful moments.
- The glorious sunset.
- The butterfly on a flower nearby.
- The laughter of children.
- The lightning bugs blinking in synchronization in the apple orchard at night.
- The grandeur of the mountains.
- The vastness of the ocean and the rhythm of the waves.
- The creativity of an architect, artist, or designer and what a gift God has given each of us to be able to be creative as a reflection of His ability to create.
- A theme in a story or show that conveys biblical truth.
- Think and talk about how amazing the Creator of the universe is. (Gen. 1:1)
- Appreciate your senses, your husband, your family, and each experience.
- Stay in the moment. Put the phone away sometimes. Savor this time together. Be fully present and with your husband and children.
- Enjoy each moment to the fullest, even if it is not perfect.
- Be open to the spiritual treasures the Lord may want to share with you each day wherever you may be.
- Notice the little beautiful moments.
What tips do you have to help other wives and moms be peaceful on vacation? We’d love to hear the wisdom God has shown you!