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, may have even grown apart from each other. Holidays can put one heck of a strain on our relationship!
It's interesting that whilst 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 spent together, holiday times and long Bank Holiday weekends can equally place an inordinate amount of strain on our relationship.
Consider how our normal day-to-day living consists of much familiar, automatic routine, of us being aware of our roles, of what's expected of us, having 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.
Here are some tips that can help to ease the strain of holidays:
- A de-stress session before your holiday can be a good idea. I have clients who come for hypnotherapy so that they're able to relax immediately their holiday starts, rather than typically take two or three days to wind down from their busy work schedule. A pre-holiday massage is another valuable way to manage stress, strain and tension.
- Discuss in advance if there are specific things either of you would like to do during the holiday. Some people simply want to relax by the pool or on the beach. Others would hate to do that and prefer to explore, walk miles, browse through markets and sight-see. Discuss if you're happy to compromise and do a little of both or prefer to spend some time enjoying things separately. That way any areas of potential strain are out in the open and have been agreed in advance.
- Some couples only realise when they're on holiday that they have lost the art of chatting conversationally with each other. They've stopped sharing banter and chit-chat and now simply exchange information and updates when they're at home. It may be a revelation to discover how far they've drifted apart and lost touch with each other's lives, interests, hopes and dreams.
If this is you then 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.
- 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. Check if you need to book children's clubs in advance and then aim to make the most of your personal time and spend it doing companionable things as a couple.
- 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.
Holidays can provide an opportunity to put life's daily stresses and pressures to one side for a while and interact with each other 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 both to each other in the first place, time to reconnect with your relationship and remind yourselves of how good it could be once again.
Use the opportunity to relax, practice sensitivity, respect and commit to communicate well whilst letting go of some of your daily stresses and strains. Use your holiday as a time to refresh yourself and your relationship.