Have you just returned from a half-term holiday break? If so, maybe you opted for a camping trip in the UK – and spent the week dodging rain showers, squelching around in a soggy field and forking out far more money than intended on indoor entertainment and restaurant meals.
If your marriage wasn’t going well when you went away for half-term, it may be suffering even more now you’re home. You could be thinking, “well, if we can’t even enjoy a holiday together, what hope is there for us?”
Before you write off your relationship, however, take time to understand why holidays can be a trigger for divorce or separation and what you can do to avoid it.
High expectations on holiday can lead to marital tension
Even sun-drenched breaks in idyllic surroundings can be fraught affairs, especially if a couple are going through a rocky patch or aren’t used to spending much time together, so shivering under canvas in pouring rain with squabbling kids can put enormous strain on a less-than-perfect relationship.
Because people tend to have high expectations of family holidays, there’s more scope for disappointment. Flight chaos, poor hotel accommodation and gloomy weather can all take the shine off a trip away.
Strange though it may sound, boredom, too, can be a problem. If your everyday life is a frantic whirl of juggling work, childcare and domestic chores, relaxation doesn’t necessarily come easily. Men, in particular, can struggle to unwind and switch off from the office. Faced with only each other (and maybe the kids) for company, couples can quickly run out of things to talk about.
Some people don’t put enough thought into the type of holiday they arrange – perhaps putting cost before whether the holiday is actually the kind that everyone will enjoy – and this also can be a source of strife.
Tips to keep your marriage healthy over the holidays
With the summer holidays not far away, it might be a good idea to start planning your next sojourn now, and with great attention to detail, so as to avoid the pitfalls that can send a faltering marriage over the edge. Here are a few tips:
- Work out the maximum amount of money you can afford to spend and think about what kind of family holiday that will buy you
- Sound out your partner and kids about what sort of vacation they want, but take care to include what you want, too
- If there’s a lack of consensus, try to arrange a holiday that incorporates everyone’s wish-list. For instance, if you like lounging on a beach but your other half enjoys looking at ancient ruins, plan in a bit of both. Alternatively, suggest your partner goes off sightseeing while you laze around on the sand
- If you and your spouse fancy some time alone together, but you have children, choose a hotel that has a good kids’ club
- If you’re worried you and your spouse won’t get along well by yourselves, suggest going away with friends to take the pressure off
- Don’t imagine a holiday, however exotic, will rejuvenate a tired or struggling marriage. It may do – but equally it may not. The higher your expectations, the greater capacity for disappointment
- Plan carefully what you will do when you’re away. Research places of interest to visit, make sure you’ve got a pile of good books to read (I always take books I’ve read before because I know I’ll enjoy them) and be sure to have enough money to take advantage of water sports or other activities on offer
- Don’t compromise too far: if you can only afford a week in a caravan in Bognor, but really don’t fancy it, don’t do it. You’ll find it much more relaxing and enjoyable to stay at home pottering or going on a few day trips instead.
If, despite your best efforts, your holiday doesn’t go as planned and you feel that you would benefit from a discussion with a divorce solicitor, please get in touch with us at Benussi & Co.