OK - forget what I said last time about not being able to have a holiday, as far as relationships are concerned. The truth is, you probably need to stay on holiday forever. But more about that in a minute....
It's hard to believe, but the Chocolate Season (aka Easter) is upon us all ready, and this usually means the end of the golden weather. The most amazing summer in many a decade has now officially finished in this corner of the world, but even the first month of autumn have been stunning. The country is now mostly in drought conditions, and rain is desperately needed. But that will come. It always does once the colder weather kicks in. But the summer was good to us all, except maybe the poor old farmers.
It seemed like the summer was even good for our relationships. Let me explain. Over the last few years, and after each summer holiday period, I've always been somewhat taken with the way clients report back that things have been better for their relationships after they have been on holiday. What is that about? I've been puzzled... When I ask them, there are answers about the fact that they have been more relaxed, the day to day routines are gone for a couple of weeks, and so on. Sure I get that, and it's great that they don't have to go to work or school, and there is, at least for a few weeks, less stress in their lives. But I think that something else happens. And what that is, is that people are more attentive to their relationships. Without all the other demands of life, we manage to push our relationships right up the priority list very easily.
It's not earth-shattering stuff. Yet it seems very important. Relationships take work and effort (as I've been banging on about here, for months now). When there are less distractions, less competing demands, somehow we can give relationships the time that they need. What would the said same relationships be like if we gave them the same kind of status in our lives all year around? And why oh why would we not want to do that, when we think about the couple relationship as being the corner stone for so much other stuff in our lives.
This is quite intriguing. The careers and the other demands of life that seem to overtake the very relationships that sustain us, become less central, and relationships can take center stage, even if only for a couple of weeks.
What would happen to our relationships if we kept them at the top of that priority list all year around? It is so important to keep in mind the order of things. Meaning that the couple relationship is usually the thing that the other parts of our lives emanate from. For instance, parenthood, houses, mortgages, careers, and the other stuff of life, usually happen with the relationship being the launching point or corner stone for these things - if it wasn't there first, then probably none of those other things would be there either. So why would we not therefore see it as needing to be at the top of the list?
Yet that other stuff is so frequently placed as a higher priority than the couple relationship, in terms of the time and attention and energy that is put in. Go figure....
This does not apply just to couple relationships either. For instance, local child and adolescent mental health services also report a drop-off in referrals during and just after holiday periods. And yes, the decrease in daily stress is a factor but (as for the couple relationship), parents often report that over the holiday period, they were more able to put in the time in a way that somehow helped their relationship with their child.
Of course it's completely unrealistic to be on holiday all year. But what would it mean for our significant relationships if we pretended to be?
I'd like to talk further about this, but there's more chocolate arriving and it won't eat itself... If you are new to these pages, you might also want to take a look at what I said here...
Catch you soon...
"Some occasional thoughts about families, relationships, and other things that distract us...."