Many people have high expectations of their holidays.
They spend weeks, even months, hoping that everything will be blissful, idyllic.
Reality can mean that things don’t always go to plan as they discover that they’re not as relaxed with their partner as they’d hoped and may have even grown apart from each other. Holidays can put one heck of a strain on our relationship!
It’s interesting that many family lawyers comment that whilst New Year is often the busiest time for people to seek a divorce, after the full-on closeness, stress and drama of a family Christmas hot-housed together, holiday times and long Bank Holiday weekends can equally place an inordinate amount of strain on our relationship.
So much of our normal day-to-day living consists of familiar, automatic routines, where we’re aware of our roles, know what’s expected of us, have tasks that we regularly do before we collapse in front of the TV or wander off exhausted to bed.
Holidays can put any flaws or short-comings in our relationship under the spotlight as we book time away, expectantly hoping to have fun together and rekindle some of the old spark and intimacy during our trip.
How to refresh your relationship with a holiday:
– A de-stress session before your holiday can be a good idea. Clearing your desk, winding down, maybe booking a de-stressing hypnotherapy session so that you can relax immediately your holiday starts, rather than taking two or three days to calm from your busy work schedule can be a useful tactic. A pre-holiday massage is another valuable way to clear pre-holiday stress and tension.
– Discuss in advance if there are specific things you’d each like to do during your holiday. One may simply want to relax by the pool or on the beach, whilst the other would hate to do that and prefers to explore, walk miles, browse through markets and sight-see. Check that you’re happy to compromise and do a little of both or are comfortable at spending time enjoying some things separately. Then any areas of potential dissent are discussed and agreed in advance.
– Check out what’s free. Whilst it great to go away and relax doing whatever takes your fancy, no one wants to come home to financial worries and having to cut corners due to over-spending. Check the prices in advance of various admittance charges and activities, the booking requirements for children’s clubs, what’s available by way of trips and excursions. Parks, museums and beaches may provide hours of relaxed fun for minimal or no expense.
– Children often benefit from playing and spending time with other children whilst they’re on holiday, as do their parents from having a little free time on their own. You may need to pre-book children’s clubs, but then ensure you make the most of that personal time by doing companionable things together as a couple.
– Some couples only realise whilst on holiday that they’ve lost the art of chatting conversationally with each other. They’ve stopped sharing banter and chit-chat and now simply exchange routine information and updates. Holidays may be a revelation, when they discover how far they’ve drifted apart and lost touch with each other’s lives, interests, hopes and dreams.
– If this is you, your holiday can be a good time to focus on what needs to be done; talking, taking time for intimacy and love-making, having fun together. It can be a great opportunity to sensitively discuss your relationship and agree on the importance of scheduling regular ‘us’ time as part of your post-holiday plans.
– If you’re going away as part of a group determine in advance how much time you want to spend together. Agree when you’re happy to meet up, whether it be at mealtimes, in the evenings or for specific trips and activities. Otherwise the holidays can become a tedious round of time spent waiting for others or discussing what you’d like to do.
– If you’re spending the holidays at home ensure that some time is committed to fun activities and not just doing chores, DIY and projects around the house. Plan some leisurely time together for relaxing lunches, walks and catching up on idle conversation. Aim to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company. Have a plan A and plan B, so that wet days and dry days are covered; picnics, treasure hunts, sports days and barbecues or craft days, board games, baking and charades can be options.
Holidays can provide an opportunity to put life’s daily stresses and pressures to one side for a while and interact as the couple you used to be before life/children/work/stress got in the way. They can provide time to revisit what attracted you to each other in the first place, reconnect with your relationship and remind yourselves of how good your relationship can be with a little regular effort.
Use the opportunity to relax, practice sensitivity, mutual respect and commit to communicate well whilst letting go of some of your daily stresses and strains. Your holiday can be a time to refresh both yourself and your relationship.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor, Hypnotherapist, Author & Media Contributor lifestyletherapy.net