By Dr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD

To mark the start of summer, taking a much needed holiday or road trip, are common shared activities couples participate in. A long weekend together can pose challenges, as well as endless opportunities for enjoyment.

Learning how to limit arguments while traveling together or on shared activities requires just a few reminders.

As a couple it is important to spend time together within individual comfort levels and to be mindful to limit unnecessary conflicts and arguments which interfere with the intended goal to have fun together. In many respects, it is counter intuitive to take a holiday together and spend the entire trip feeling horrible due to unnecessary negativity so here are five suggestions.

1. Decide in Advance

2. Vacation From Arguments

3. Time Out is for Adults too

4. Avoid Recruitment Campaigns

5. Be Reasonable

Decide in Advance
One way to ensure a pleasurable day trip is to decide in advance to have a good time and to discuss the itinerary to avoid conflicts which could surface due to scheduling or activity preferences.

Individuals who genuinely like one another also tend to enjoy each others company. This mutual sense of endearment typically adds to each person’s ability to compromise easily to limit disagreements along the way and keep the peace in the relationship as it were. While it is important to share activities together because it increases intimacy, each having an individual passion in life builds autonomy and adds a different perspective to the conversation level while couples are together in a shared activity.

Vacation From Arguments
Another suggestion is to give oneself permission to take a break from problems. By the time the opportunity surfaces to participate in a day trip, holiday together, or pre-summer road trip, if you had not mustered the courage to discuss a existing difficult topic yet, it would not be recommended to start on the holiday. Holidays are a time to renew. A time to affirm relationship commitments by spending enjoyable quality time together and create new memories which ultimately become the tapestry of one’s life. Why ruin it with unneeded negativity.

Time Out is for Adults too
As an Adult you may recognize it as a “Safe Word“ often used as the punch-line reference in comedy routines making reference to Adult Role Playing and Dominatrix. Time Out for Adults is a valid and recognized conflict resolution technique which should be applied in appropriate situations when a break is needed in order to reduce abuses; both physical and verbal. Both partners agree [in advance] to a time out signal that either partner may give to stop interaction which is perceived as having the potential to become abusive. Then, both must agree if the “signal” is made each must respond favorably to it without debate.

Avoid Recruitment Campaigns
In relationships when there is hostile, conflicted communication or no communication, when the couple is around other couples, there is a tendency for one to participate in “rallying efforts” or make statements to persuade others to endorse their side of a existing argument in their intimate relationship. That is if there is actually a “right and wrong” side to any relationship argument.

This should be avoided as it is demeaning and lacks courage. It takes real courage to confront a partner on important issues when the time is right and debate the issues. Using a side planking maneuver to draw others into the argument to somehow limit the individual pressure felt, is not courageous and often does little to resolve the conflicts suffered.

Real conflicts deserve genuine debate.

Be Reasonable
Reduce critical complaining by reframing each complaint into polite requests.

The joy felt on holiday travel may actually ease tensions in a relationship making other situations easier to approach in the future. Upon return home, there will always be ample time to resolve conflicts in a mutually respectful manner with one another.

:::: Until Next Time: à Donf ::::

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Tags: Relationships, Conflict, Interpersonal Relationship, Intimate Relationships, Relationship Dilemmas, Marriage, Divorce, Sex and Relationships, Travel