We have all heard the unfavorable marriage statistics, the ‘only 1 in 12 couples with children will make it to 10 years of marriage.’ I had just turned 18 when I met my husband and we have grown up together. This August will mark 13 years of marriage to my husband, George. Cumulatively we will celebrate 17 years together! I am so proud of the longevity of my marriage and the ability to live an example of love to my children, family and friends. I am a very loud, opinionated Cuban-Irish woman; of course my marriage isn’t perfect. George and I battle passionately and the opposite of that pendulum, thankfully, is also true. There are a few keys to our longevity and vacationing without the children is one of them.
As I was driving the kids to piano lessons on Wednesday, Sofia asked if she could attend a class sleepover at the Museum of Science and Industry on April 19. First, house rule — we don’t do sleepovers. Second, George and I will be on an exotic vacation in Manzanillo, Mexico that I have deliberately not yet mentioned. I told Sofia as much and she asked why I always have to go places with Daddy. I answered Sofi by saying that I like to go places with Daddy because I love him. Further, making sure my marriage is happy makes us better parents. Her clever little response was, ‘even when you do argue with Daddy you are still nice to me!?!’ I realized we had to go a bit further with the conversation. I reminded the kids that George and I were a couple for eight years before we had them. I shared the importance of really enjoying a spouse and how, much like a tall banyan tree, our roots had to be strong to support the growth of our family and generations to come. I went even further and noted their friends who live in a divorced family. I explained that people divorce and families separate when there is an unhappy marriage. Although it is astoundingly simple, I believe each person must be happy for a relationship to endure time. I helped Sofia, Giana and Lorenzo understand that ultimately I want my marriage to their father to be happy, and to accomplish this it is important for us to celebrate each other without them on occasion.
Relationships need attention and that is tough to achieve with three children. It will absolutely NOT happen on its own without a conscious effort. Leaving home, kids, work, friends and every other life distraction behind for even an extended weekend is reinvigorating for us. Our first vacation away from Sofia was to Napa Valley for a four-day trip. She was only nine months when I left her with an instruction manual and in the hands of my mother. It was an amazing trip. Most vacations have been long weekends; some have been Paris and Hawaii, yet all have become precious moments in time reserved for our marriage. These moments are always there as daydreams of energy for me. Energy, especially on a snowy Chicago day like today; after school pick up while the girls are in ballet, Lorenzo is in taekwondo, before we have to rush home, eat dinner, do homework, bathe, brush teeth and get in bed. On days like today, I can see the beach and my husband’s smile, and know in just a few weeks we will be there, together.
The key: The ring on your finger doesn’t ensure happiness and longevity; only your deliberate compassionate moments together do. Stop now, and schedule some time with the one you love.
Trina M. Fresco, Vice President of Operations for the IT firmsmarTECHS.net since 2007 and NBCLatino Contributor, was named one of “50 Powerful Minority Women in Business” by MEA Magazine. Fresco is the Chair of the Chicago Foundation for Women Investment Subcommittee and serves on a number of additional boards & committees. Fresco resides Chicago with her husband, George and their three children Sofia, Giana and Lorenzo. You can contact her at FrescoRealTalk@gmail.com or on Twitter @trinafresco.