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For Your Marriage

Married for 20 years and the proud parents of five children, Soren and Ever are co-founders of Trinity House Community, a Catholic nonprofit with a mission to inspire families to make home a small taste of heaven for the renewal of faith and culture.

This Just In: You Need a Vacation

“Fear, pain, anxiety, betrayal, stress,” our pastor said in a recent homily.

“Our emotions are all over the place,” he said, before drawing our attention to the words of Jesus in the Gospel reading: “Be not afraid.” Now is the time to deepen our trust in the Lord, he concluded, no matter which emotions we are experiencing.

And alongside trust in the Lord, now is also the time that most families are turning to a family vacation.

But given everything that’s going on in our world today, is it selfish, trivial, or tone-deaf to turn our focus toward a family vacation? With “emotions all over the place,” is a vacation realistic?

The third commandment—to rest from our labors—is high up on the Lord’s list for a reason. The Sabbath is the doorway into your own domestic church—or “Trinity House,” as we like to say—to living with God. Making your home into a little taste of heaven requires stopping once a week to truly rest, give God your worship, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

A vacation, of course, is not the Sabbath, but the two are linked. If you are truly celebrating the Sabbath as God intended, you’ll glimpse just how important your family vacations are—whether a stay-cation or a getaway—in allowing you to rest in God and draw closer together as a family.

“Time given to Christ is never time lost,” John Paul II wrote, “but is rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human.”

We hope and pray that this summer, you and your family can enjoy time together that is Christ-centered and “profoundly more human” as a result. As you plan your vacation, consider some strategies that have worked for us: 

1. Deepen your faith on vacation. As you plan, try to incorporate the faith in some creative way. Will you be near a shrine, basilica, or another faith landmark that can draw your family closer to our Lord? Put first things first, and build your family’s worship and prayer into the schedule.

2. Deepen your family’s sense of history and roots. Can part of your vacation weave in an angle of your family history? We were married in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the city in which Ever’s mom grew up and where some of our relatives live to this day. When a family vacation finds us in those parts, we’re sure to worship with the kids in the same chapel “where Mommy and Daddy” (and also their grandparents) were married. Whenever possible, we’ll build in a visit to decorate the graves of our ancestors and tell stories to our kids about generations past. Over time, these traditions impart to our children a sense of rootedness and connection.

3. Expand your horizons together. While we love to build family memories by returning to the same vacation spots, we also know just how valuable it is to set off and try something new together as a family. Our kids can’t wait to check off a few new states this summer, and you can sense the anticipation in the air.

“Our emotions are all over the place,” our pastor said. As you seek to spend time away—or in a stay-cation—in the summer months, entrust your emotions to the Lord and seek his blessing on your family’s time together.

“Do not be afraid!” Your family’s time together can, by God’s grace, become a memorable time of blessing, rest, and peace.