The car is packed with all the necessities for a fun family vacation. Maybe you are headed out to the beach or you are taking a trip to visit the grandparents. Whatever your plans are for summer fun during the dog days of August, spending 24/7 with your kids and spouse can wreak havoc on your marriage/relationship.
Both you and your spouse each have your daily routine that is usually spent apart from each other. Maybe both of you work outside the home or one of you stays home full-time with the kids while running errands for the house. Either way, the amount of time you normally spend together during the course of a day is minimal compared to how much time you will spend together during vacation; with all this togetherness getting you in each other’s way, both literally and figuratively.
Family vacations can also bring to the surface parenting differences that have been simmering all year long – with complaints often taking the form of one spouse believing the other is too soft or strict with the kids. Putting all these things together – it is no wonder that summer vacation can really put a strain on your marriage – or bring it to its breaking point. Contrary to popular belief – you really can have too much together time with the ones you love.
To avoid your marriage being a casualty of summer vacation, follow the 3 easy tips below to make sure your marriage not only survives, but also thrives during your family vacation this month.
- Set realistic expectations. Just because you are away on vacation does not mean your kids will turn into perfect little angels. Kids will still fight and argue wherever you are so don’t kid yourself (no pun intended) into thinking they won’t. Kids don’t really care how much time money and effort went into planning your summer vacation – they are still kids and they will continue to act like kids on vacation. Being realistic about this will help keep you from being disappointed in their behavior and prevent you from blaming your spouse for their inappropriate behavior.
- Discuss realistic roles & expectations with your spouse. Don’t expect your spouse to just know that you expect them to help you with the kids and/or planning activities while on vacation. Have a conversation with your spouse before vacation about what your expectations are of them to help while you are away so you don’t get annoyed. Standing on ceremony – or suggesting that they should just know – doesn’t cut it. Have a conversation and tell them – this will help avoid all sorts of arguments and negative feelings towards each other that often last long after vacation is over.
- Put time on your side. Expect things to take much longer than you think they should. This includes the amount of time it takes to get out of the hotel/house in the morning to hit the beach. Or the anticipated wait at the restaurant for dinner. If you expect things to take longer than you think – you will eliminate all the stress and pressure of spending your vacation “hurrying up” and being angry at your spouse for not helping out enough to avoid constantly feeling rushed and being late.
Regarding time – try to set aside some alone time with just the two of you while on vacation. I know this might be really hard to do but if you can’t find a babysitter or relative to watch the kids, try getting them to bed early one night so you can have some alone time to connect with your spouse. Otherwise, you may end up spending the entire vacation relating to your spouse as a parent and not a partner – creating a lot of tension and ill-will in the relationship.
Following these 3 easy tips and your marriage will not only survive but thrive during your family vacation this month!
Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,
Dr. Patty Ann