6 Ways to Fight Right When You’re On Holidays
We’re only two days in and I’m curled up in bed, tears streaming down my face. My gut is wrenching, my throat feels dry, and I sense myself plunging into some scary depths of hopelessness.
Our conversation keeps teetering on the edge of breakup, and things are looking pretty grim.
Not exactly what I had in mind for our 10 day romantic Thailand beach holiday.
And yet, we consciously chose this. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing, right in this moment.
Not because I enjoy relationship conflict. Far from it.
It’s just that junk has really been building up between us lately, and we know it’s time to clear it out.
And what better time to do that than on holidays?
Holidays usually mean long stretches of time with not much to do. That gives you all the space you need to go deep with the challenges you’re facing. Without having to worry about rushing off to work or getting the kids ready for school.
But it’s not just the extra leisure time that makes holidays so ripe for arguing. They also allow things to bubble to the surface.
In the everyday bustle, it can be easy to get so caught up that we don’t notice the tension in our intimate relationship. Or if we do, there’s so many other things keeping us occupied that we avoid the uncomfortable conversations and pretend that everything is fine.
But on holidays, there’s nothing else to distract you. It’s just you, them and the elephant in the room you’ve been ignoring for the last couple of months.
Yes, it might be uncomfortable at first, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to work on your shit, process it and let it go.
So if you’re going to fight on holidays (and you probably are), here’s 6 things to keep in mind to make it as painless and productive as possible.
1. Stop Judging Yourselves
When Reece and I first started bickering – a pretty sure sign that things weren’t right between us – my mind went straight to “We shouldn’t be fighting – we’re on holidays!”
I felt massive shame that we’d been looking forward to this trip for months, and yet here we were arguing. What was wrong with us? Why couldn’t we just have a nice time?
I was resisting it big time.
But what this judgement showed me was that I was walking around with something toxic held over our relationship:
Expectation is the enemy of intimacy. It takes you out of the moment and way off into unrealistic fantasy land. And it places huge amounts of pressure on you, your partner and your relationship.
So let it go.
Forget what your holiday is ‘supposed’ to look like, or how you’re relationship is ‘meant’ to look, and surrender to what is.
See this friction as the incredible opportunity that it is – an opportunity to grow. To process. To reconnect. To heal.
It’s not always easy, but this reframe alone will make a massive difference to how your process unfolds.
2. Remember Your Agreements
When you’re away from your everyday life, it can be easy to feel like the usual rules don’t apply.
Whilst this is one of the most liberating parts of being on holiday – from sleeping in to eating out – it’s important to honour your Relationship Agreements just the same as you would at home.
Relationship Agreements are a set of shared values, goals and commitments in your relationship. They can range from agreements around communication styles, to the role that sexual connection plays in your relationship. (Want to know what our Relationship Agreements look like? Click here to find out).
Honouring your Agreements in times of conflict can mean the difference between a constructive and respectful discussion and an insult-laden brawl.
One of my most important Agreements for when things are heated is my commitment to growth. Even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when it’s down right painful.
As someone with a long history of cutting and running when things get tough, this one has brought massive changes to the way I do relationship.
Whereas before I couldn’t stand conflict or disagreement, I now see it as an opportunity for growth. It’s one of the very reasons I’m in this relationship – because opening myself up with someone else helps me to become a better person. It helps me deepen my sense of unconditional love, and teaches me more about myself than I could ever learn alone.
And growth isn’t always pretty.
Whatever your Agreements – and I highly recommend you work out what those are – make sure you stick to them even when you’re deep in discord. It will keep the fight fair, and ensure it’s serving the highest good of your relationship.
3. Get Naked
Figuratively and literally.
Have the courage to strip off the mask and let your partner see you. Get to the core of what’s really going on. Share your fears. Your insecurities. Your hopes. Your doubts. All of it.
Take this even deeper by actually stripping off your clothes as well.
Reece and I have most of our uncomfortable conversations in bed. Naked. It helps us to set a positive, intimate tone for our challenging talks, and adds a degree of tenderness.
This is our personal twist on a traditional therapy tool. How you initiate difficult conversations influences how it will end – so starting in bed with your naked bodies wrapped up in each other can actually make a big difference to the conflict’s outcome.
4. Forget About Trying to Be Right
This is one I have to be very careful with.
I can be super competitive, and whilst it’s not really about winning for me, I find it really hard to lose. It brings up all of my self-worth shit, and makes me feel like I’m just not good enough.
But for the good of our relationship, I’ve had to work on this big time. For me, that’s meant not taking our arguments so personally. Our disagreements don’t reflect my value as a person, and it’s OK to let go of proving a point or justifying my perspective.
I’ve learnt to openly accept Reece’s point of view, his insights and his loving guidance without it meaning I’ve ‘lost’.
It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been worth it.
So stay conscious of your motivations. If you notice yourself trying to ‘win’ an argument, pause for a moment and reflect on whether or not this will actually serve your relationship.
What will ‘winning’ really give you? Perhaps a momentary sense of power or influence – or in my case, will save me from feeling inadequate – but at what cost? If it sets you and your partner up as adversaries, it’s not really much of a win.
Because at the end of the day, it’s not a competition. It’s about bridging the divide between you and moving forward in positive and constructive ways. Ideally, hand in hand.
If that means letting go of being right or accepting guidance from your partner, the trade-off is more than worth it.
5. Take Some Space
Even if you don’t feel like absolutely everything is resolved between you, it’s important to give yourselves the opportunity to refresh. And since you’re on holidays, there should be a multitude of options.
Take a stroll, go for a swim, wander through the markets and soak up the holiday vibes. Give yourselves permission to put your friction aside and let some light in.
It’s still important to remember #1 – don’t be putting expectation around what things should look like. Instead, open to the possibility that maybe you can share a few simple moments of enjoyment together even while there’s some disagreement going on.
While we were in Thailand, this looked like going out to lunch together, having bit of a shop and sharing a cocktail during sunset.
At times it felt awkward, sure. But there were also moments of genuine lightness that reminded us of just what we love about our relationship, and each other.
Those moments are absolute gold when you’re in the middle of a drawn out conflict, and can help to keep you grounded and connected. Give yourself the chance for these moments to shine through.
6. Make Love After War
It may take longer than you’d like, but see the process through.
And once you’re done, prioritise sexual connection. Even if it feels weird and awkward – especially if it feels weird and awkward – make the time to get naked and reconnect.
Sex is the most powerful way I know of to strengthen your intimate relationship, and it’s extra important when you’ve just come through some tense and uncomfortable discussions. (And I don’t just mean penetrative sex either – click here to widen your perception of what Sex is).
It took Reece and I almost three whole days to work through our stuff. It took patience, forgiveness and lots of compassion – both for each other and for ourselves. But we weren’t in any rush. The outcome – feeling a true resolution and a renewed hope for our future together – was more than worth the long hours invested.
And at the end of it all, we got to enjoy hot, delicious, make-up sex. An entire luscious week of it – interspersed with lounging on white-sand beaches, swimming in pristine turquoise seas and cruising around to spectacular islands.
It’s the light at the end of the tunnel that makes seeing conflict through so worthwhile.
Remember that relationships aren’t supposed to be ‘perfect’ all the time. They’re designed to trigger us and bring up our shit, which is exactly the reason they help grow us so intensely.
If you are in a relationship that feels stuck, or you’re ready to break through your blocks and grow closer to each other again, click here to find out how we can help take your relationship to the next level.