My last article asked the question, "Do you want to know what your relationship is made of? Go on vacation." Since then, I've been on vacation myself, where I took the opportunity to do some further research on the topic, interviewing and observing several couples. I must admit that I was shocked by what I discovered, especially regarding young couples with kids. I wondered where the love had gone not just between the couple, also with the children. Vacations should be about the entire family lovingly reconnecting, spending quality time together in a fun environment.
One night, on the beautiful Greek island of Mykonos, I met a couple at dinner, who sat next to each other, barely speaking to each other for over an hour. Both parties looked completely bored, looking around the room for something more interesting. Only a few words were spoken to their child who was stuck in the middle. The little girl tried to initiate conversation between her parents, which made even me, an outsider, feel sad. Based on what I saw, I thought I could have started the first mediation session right there on the beach.
These depressing scenarios are all too common, which is why this article is about assessing what you may have discovered about your relationship while on vacation. Sometimes, like with the couple mentioned above, a divorce is much closer than you think. The fact is that your relationship alone is not strong enough to keep the both of you together; you have to invest and work for it.
So if you have just returned from vacation and are curious if you could be in the danger zone, here are 6 signs to help you get clear.
How was the communication with you and your partner during vacation? Did you take the time to talk with each other? Did you have subjects to talk about or interests you shared? Did you listen to each other? Or were you more preoccupied with your iPad and cell phone? If you can identify a lack of personal conversations and genuine interest you should worry.
To be clear, no romance is not the same as no sex -- the two go together, but I am talking about the consideration and intimacy of a couple. Did you and your partner make each other feel special? Can you recall meaningful romantic moments that led to a sense of intimacy? If not, you may have a larger problem.
Nothing tests your teamwork skills more than a vacation, where unexpected things can happen and compromise is key. How did it go? Did you act as a team when your flight was delayed; your rental car was not available, and your hotel room was below your expectations? Or was every disappointing detail a new reason for quarrel?
I am talking about the feeling you had at the beginning of your relationship. That sexy anticipation of young lovers, that prompts you to take care of your body and dress well, to be at your best for your partner. The daily grind and monotony of home life can make this feeling evaporate, forcing couples into what I call 'the father/mother mode', where both people take care of everything and everyone except each other. During vacation you are unburdened by everyday life and that should bring back the wonderful feeling of being two lovers. You don't know what I am talking about? This means there is definitely work to do!
Vacation should relax and revitalize you. After your holiday you should be super charged, making plans and looking forward to what's next. However if your relationship is falling apart, you will expend a lot of effort and energy on arguments. The dissatisfaction will make you relieved to get home. So the question is how did your vacation make you feel, energized or exhausted? If you came home more tired than you left, it's time to start examining your current relationship.
You probably did not bring a nanny with you on holiday, so your daily activities included fun with the whole family. This means that you most likely did not have much couple time. How was this for you? Were you still able to have fun and build memories? Or were you secretly trying to escape on your tablet or cell phone? If you found yourself wishing you were by yourself or away from your family, there is something wrong with your relationship.
No relationship is perfect and there is no 100% guarantee that your marriage is on the right track, but there are definite signs of trouble and neglect. If a couple can be honest with each other, they will tackle their challenges and find ways to solve problems, emerging stronger, either together or apart. So think about your last vacation based on my tips and figure out how you can improve your relationship, because divorce should, of course, always be a last resort!