The “Hail-Mary-moon”?

The headline caught my eye, and the story that follows offers an interesting glimpse into how far some people will go to try and save their marriage.

From the New York Times:

 It’s a steamy summer day in the middle of vacation season, and the beach, whether on Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod or Sanibel Island, is packed. Couples — some a few years past their honeymoon but still sporting its glow, others creased from decades of togetherness — frolic in the sand, splash in the surf, slather each other with suntan lotion and toast with freshly mixed margaritas.

Which of these pairs are secretly trying to save their marriage?

Couples deal with relationship woes in many ways — from denial to outright war, and every fraught emotion in between. But for some, egged on by couples’ therapists and travel agents, the best way to address a rift in the marriage, and to see whether it can be healed, is to take a last-ditch vacation, maybe a beach getaway or a road trip à deux.

For the lucky ones, it works.

Just ask Tom Slook, 46, and Suzy Stauffer, 49, from Glen Mills, Pa., just outside of Philadelphia. In an 11th-hour effort to save their 20-year marriage, Mr. Slook booked a five-day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, last December.

Sparks flew (the good kind). Shortly after returning to shore, they called off the divorce mediator. “We realized we wanted to come home together,” he said.

For others, not so much.

The humorist Dan Greenburg insisted on taking his wife, Nora Ephron, on an African photo safari in 1972, even though she said they would probably split. When they returned home, she asked for a divorce.

“But I took you to Africa!” he said.

Yes, she said, it was a wonderful time. But she still wanted a divorce.

Harriet Lerner, a psychologist and author of “Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up,” said she has noticed an increase in patients taking such “save-cations” in the last few years. She links the rise of these trips to belt-tightening in the wake of the Great Recession.

“A divorce can be much worse economically than going away for a few days together,” said Dr. Lerner, who is based in Lawrence, Kan.

With time ticking toward a breakup, troubled couples are planning one final, against-all-odds vacation in a desperate play to snatch romance from the jaws of divorce. Honeymoon? Babymoon? Call it a Hail-Mary-moon.

Jaclyn Sienna India, co-founder of the Sienna Charles Travel Agency, said that more than 10 of her upscale clients approached her in recent months to plan a Hail-Mary-moon, a notable increase for her boutique firm, which has offices in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Fla.

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