Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain write the Marriage Matters column for Members of St. Joseph Parish in Collingdale, they have been married more than 50 years and have seven children and 21 grandchildren.

Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain write the Marriage Matters column for Members of St. Joseph Parish in Collingdale, they have been married more than 50 years and have seven children and 21 grandchildren.

He says:

Peter says: Ever since I married Veronica, we have vacationed with her parents at the Jersey shore. We also go to their shore home most weekends during the summer. I really like Veronica’s family. I like the shore scene and before we had children this was very enjoyable and, to be honest, an inexpensive way to relax on weekends or to spend vacation together.

Now we have a couple of small children and going anywhere does require the diaper bag, pack and play, pottie chair and all the extras needed for two great kids.  However, it is less relaxing with the kids, what with sand all over and needing to keep a constant eye on them while on the beach.

Veronica and I have saved a little money now and I would like to take a vacation with just us and our kids: maybe to the mountains or to a national park to have a different experience once the children get a bit bigger.

Veronica gets upset when I mention this possibility, reminding me how important it is for her to allow her parents to spend as much time with us as possible; she always resists my idea of having a separate vacation for us.

We both hope to have more children, which, if nothing changes, probably means more sandy diapers in our future. I would just like an occasional change of venue.  Is that too much to ask? “Hear my words, O Lord, listen to my sighing” (Psalms 5:2).

She Says:

Veronica says:  I was brought up going to the Jersey shore every summer. It is such a part of my lifestyle and my connection to my parents that it is hard to conceive giving this up in my life.

I always believed Peter enjoyed the beach and our going together. Why ruin a good thing? My parents are very generous to us while at their place.

Peter came from a family that did not vacation very often. They did not have the strong connections that my family has, and could not offer their children the regular enjoyment of a family shore home. He has never complained of our vacationing with my parents in the past. Why should he start now?

What do they do?

Peter’s request to consider taking a different vacation is not a rebuff to his in-laws. Peter simply would like to have a closer experience with his wife and children in a different venue. This should not be taken as a rejection of the wonderful times his in-laws have provided for Peter and Veronica and their children.

It appears Peter is looking to generate their own special family togetherness that he and Veronica can pay for themselves, thus gaining a new appreciation for each other in their own little nuclear family.

Veronica needs to realize that there are other opportunities for families to experience together besides the Jersey shore. Veronica needs to replace her “I” with “we.”

In lieu of going to the shore home one weekend, Peter and Veronica could start out small and go on a private family trip to the Poconos. A weekend on their own could allow their family to enjoy each other in a new way.

Peter and Veronica appear to have a very satisfactory family situation. Peter is only asking to expand their family adventure by spending time in a different, more solitary setting.

Veronica needs to look beyond her wonderful childhood and adolescent memories and see a new horizon that focuses on her, her husband and their children. They should sit down together and make a wish list of possible vacations, gathering brochures, showing pictures to the children, checking out places online. This of itself can be exciting for a family.

After Veronica has a bit of the taste of spending time alone with Peter and their children, she may better understand Peter’s desire to occasionally vacation just as a small family unit. With more funds now available to spend, Peter can also foster a bit of pride that he is capable of providing for his family’s enjoyment rather than having to rely on his in-laws for any vacation experience.

But don’t forget to, once in a while, invite Veronica’s parents along on one of those great trips that Peter envisions!

“How good it is, how pleasant, where the people dwell as one! There the Lord has lavished blessings, life for evermore! (Psalms 133:1, 3).