Photo by Elizeu Dias on Unsplash
Photo by Elizeu Dias on Unsplash

Vacationing

Question

On vacation, I like to rise early and plan our day, while my husband would rather lie in bed half the day. By the time he finally gets up, I feel as though we’ve wasted half the day—then I become angry and threaten to leave without him! What can we do?

Answer

Oh the challenges of being created differently from one another. We too have had to navigate a different approach to dealing with different needs on vacation. My spouse likes to “conquer” an area upon first arriving by gathering information, making phone calls, lining up activities while I  like to ease into an area. I like to sit around for a while, drink some coffee, watch the people, and maybe do something or maybe not.

What some couples have not figured out is that there needs to be freedom in being different. Who said that we always have to be together all the time everywhere we go! Ask yourself what you are getting angry about. Is your primary emotion fear, hurt, or frustration? Do you see him as insensitive to your needs? Anger can be a healthy emotion to help us identify and deal with the real issue.

After doing some emotional assessment, sit down with your husband and talk reasonably about what has gone on for you in these situations. Ask him how he has felt. Ask him about what his needs are on a vacation and let him know what your needs are and then talk about what is reasonable and what is not. Talk a little about what it would look like if you both could be free on a trip to do some of what you wanted to do even if your partner is not interested. Do talk about things that are reasonable to do together.

One solution may be that part of the vacation is spent with you earlier in the morning and part of it is you being free to allow your husband to sleep in if he so chooses while you get up early and take that morning walk! Look at the vacation difference as an opportunity to love, understand, and support each other in new and fresh ways. As you both prayerfully consider each other’s unique definition of the “ideal” vacation, you are likely to find ways to really enjoy your time a way and to honor each other.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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