Why getting away with your spouse (sans kids) does a relationship good.

Sure, every union worth its salt has its ups and downs. But a great marriage? Those take work — and more specifically, time. Since chiseling out recurrent date nights when you have kids is hard, we talked to Ashley Howe, a relationship expert who speaks about the importance of getting away together for Travelocity.ca, for her thoughts on why couples-only vacations are important, worthwhile and, yes, even necessary.

They fan the flames
When it comes to keeping the spark alive, routine can make life mundane. The fix: variety. From foods and activities to places and experiences, think outside the box when you’re away from home, says Howe, and don’t be afraid to do something you’ve never done before — think mountain hiking, scuba diving or surfing — and do it together.

They benefit your kids
Yes, getting out of Dodge is good for your marriage, but it’s beneficial for your kids, too. “It helps them learn that their parents’ lives don’t always revolve around them,” she says. “Showing your children that you have an interesting life full of new things, as well as a solid relationship with your spouse, are two of the best things you can do for your children.”

They prepare kids for life

As kids grow and schedules fill up, visits with grandparents and extended family members tend to slip down the list of priorities. What jetting off to a faraway destination does is create opportunities for your kids to experience the supervision of other personalities. “Allowing kids to learn how to receive care and follow instruction from other persons of authority, especially during the adolescent stage, is a fantastic experience for them. Ultimately it supplies a small taste of what the real world is like,” Howe says.

They boost your self-confidence

“When you’re on vacation, you’re not bogged down with daily routines and responsibilities,” says Howe. Instead, she says you’re more likely to lower your inhibitions, feel more adventurous, and put extra effort into trying new things and looking your best. The bottom line: “Vacations create a unique opportunity to see your partner at his or her very best.”