Ben writes with the following question: “My wife and I always have the
same argument this time of year. We have two young children who are
going on school holidays soon and my annual leave is coming up as well.
We want to take a week off and go on a holiday, but my wife prefers
taking the children with us while I think that it’s best to send them to
their grandparents and go on a romantic vacation by ourselves. My wife
normally wins these arguments, but I have to say that I’m not looking
forward to those family holidays any longer. I find it’s not relaxing
and all about the children. I sometimes count the hours until I’m back
at work. How can I make my wife listen to me for once so that maybe this
year I’ll feel like I really went out on vacation?”
Many of us
find ourselves disagreeing with our partner about the nature of our
shared vacation. Whether it has to do with location, type of vacation
(i.e. extreme, relaxed, cultural) or even the length of it. We each have
a picture of our ideal vacation painted in our heads. Unfortunately,
our partner does not always share that same picture.
So what can we do in order to make our “time off” more enjoyable for all included?
What’s your plan?
We might have a full picture of our desired vacation, but we have to
make sure our partner gets a good description of it. If you know more or
less what you want to do and where you want to go, do some research
over the Internet. Then ask your partner to sit down with you for a few
minutes while you show her pictures, prices and different itineraries
for a possible vacation. This way you can have a more constructive
discussion about your wishes and hers as well.
Divide and conquer.
If your partner insists on time off with the kids, try to examine some
variations to that option. One idea is to have a shortened vacation with
the kids and go on another short romantic getaway adjacent to that
vacation or at some other time during the year. Another idea is to
integrate some alone time into the family vacation. Get a babysitter
during the evenings and go see a nice show with your partner. If the
kids are old enough, find a resort that can occupy them while you and
your partner relax together by the pool.
Get to the bottom of it.
Your partner clearly has an issue with leaving the kids behind, but
what is the reason for that? One option is that she doesn’t trust anyone
else with taking care of them while you’re gone and so she would insist
on taking them wherever you go.
Another option is that she doesn’t want to burden the grandparents for so many days or is too embarrassed to ask them.
third option might be that she sees great importance in the family
spending more time together, especially with the busy schedules you both
have. Whatever the reason is, if you sit with your partner and
determine why she insists on bringing the kids along, it may be easier
for you both to come up with solutions that will make you both happy.
your partner doesn’t trust anyone else with caring for the children,
offer to have a very short romantic get-away, even for just the one
night. This may help her build trust in the ability of others to care
for the children.
If she doesn’t want to burden the
grandparents, offer to have an open discussion with the grandparents and
ask for their take on the matter. The grandparents might actually be
more than excited to spend a few days with their loved grandchildren and
that might ease your partner’s mind.
If your partner wants the
kids to join so that you’ll all have some family quality time together,
you might be able to persuade her to shorten the length of such
vacation. You may also try to explain how important it is for you to
have some time alone with her as well. This time off will allow you both
to strengthen your relationship and gather energy to help you function
better as a family during the year.
Whatever you decide to do,
it’s important to acknowledge your needs as well as those of your
partner. If you’re going to mope throughout the shared vacation, no one
is going to enjoy it. If you express your needs and help your partner
express hers, there is a much better chance you can find some sort of
middle ground and have a lovely memorable vacation.
Nothman has a Masters degree in Conflict Resolution and believes that
like charity, conflict resolution begins at home. If you have any
questions for Shimrit, please use the comments section below or email
her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is brought to you as general information only and should not be a replacement for professional advice.