This article discusses a few steps you need to take in order to make the most of those special, high pressure days on the calendar, when you and your partner are supposed to blissfully get along, whether they are holidays or vacation days.
A common complaint of many couples who come into my office is that they constantly fight on vacation or holidays.
Is this a problem for you too?
Why? Shouldn’t it be easier to get along without the pressure of work and the rest of life’s stresses?
Gay Hendricks, PhD, according to his book The Big Leap (highly recommended), would classify this as an “Upper Limit Problem.” Basically what that means is that as humans, we are basically set in our ways in a certain comfort zone with the degree of happiness we are able to accept. When things get to be too good for us, we find a way to mess them up.
Ever notice that happens to you? You get a promotion and you suddenly get sick, you take a big risk to create a new opportunity for yourself and you screw it up, or you finally have romantic time set aside to be with your partner and you just can’t seem to get along. You get the picture.
Another explanation is that we put the pressure on so strong to have an amazing time that there is no way of living up to it. Whatever reality is often gets magnified in our minds. By that I mean we often have ideas in our heads about how awful or enjoyable about something is that can be rather extreme.
Think about Sunday nights before a work week when you hate your job. You could really be miserable – but by the time Monday rolls around, it might not be so bad. The same can be true about vacations or holidays, but with the opposite effect, especially if you are banking on a great time with your partner when you already may be in a distressed place in your relationship. You think everything is going to be so perfect, but it never really is.
Vacations or holidays aren’t magic, and they often let us down.
Or, you may have hopes about what your partner will do for you that he or she just cannot live up to. That guarantees that you’ll be let down, and provides the perfect seeds for a big old fight.
Explanations are all well and good, and there are many more possibilities as to why this happens for so many couples.
But what can you do about it?
Here are 3 steps you need to take to avoid this problem if it’s something you struggle with, so that you can enjoy the most out of your vacations and holidays together.
Step 1: Take the Pressure Off
Vacations and holidays are just other days. Yes, they are special and worth looking forward to, but keep your expectations reasonable. If you tend to go overkill with excitement and think everything will be perfect, temper those expectations.