Friday, 2 September 2011

How to make the most of a Mini Break

Whether you're planning to relax in each other's company, to enjoy a city break, or an activity weekend, mini breaks are increasingly popular. It's almost like stealing a march on time as we squeeze in an extra treat, without all the build up of a main holiday. These are precious moments in the midst of our hectic lives. They often have a special significance if we've engineered time for just the two of us - which may add to our expectations that we'll re-establish that 'deeply in love' feeling we had when things were new.

What do mini breaks give us?
Whatever you want from your mini-break will vary with the type of break you book. You might want to be uplifted culturally, have fun or take part in an activity. When you go together there is always another agenda.  What we don't want is to be drawn into arguments as we get anxious about the break drawing to a close, or as we think about raising those 'issues' that have been bugging us for a while. What we do want is to create memories of times spent happily in each other's company. Taking the opportunity to cherish each other strengthens our relationship, it builds in resilience against future difficulties and helps us work better as a team on the basis of our shared experiences and understanding of each other. 
What do I have to do?
In my last blog, Holidays - Heaven or Hell? I gave you some clues on how to avoid disappointment and arguments by checking out your expectations for your time away. 
I also gave you some simple topics to talk about which are likely to recreate those 'deep and meaningful' conversations. These tips are just as relevant for mini breaks - and even nights out.

Knowing you only have a short break and you want to have a positive and happy time together, be clear whether you really want to use this moment to resolve that 'difficult issue.' If that is the whole purpose of the weekend for you, then be clear that your partner is of the same mind. And remember - resolving issues demands as much listening as it does putting over your own point of view!

The last thing you can do sounds simple - and may take some practice. Very often we get into a habit of noticing - and commenting on - the little things that annoy and frustrate us about our partner. This is just a habit and habits can be changed! Replace this habit with a new one - make sure you look for all the positive things you love and admire about your partner. This is mostly a mindset which you can adopt, in the same way as having decided to buy a particular car, you start to notice how many of precisely that make and model are suddenly on the road! If you want some ideas for the sort of things to notice, check out our book: Let's Talk Love.

So how do I deal with difficult issues?
If you decide you'll leave difficult issues till another time, help yourself to let go of the negative emotions attached to them. You can sometimes do this quite simply by writing down all the points you want to make as a reminder to yourself. Put this 'reminder' somewhere safe where you know you can always pick it up later if it is still relevant. 

Of course I couldn't let this opportunity go by without reminding you that Nigel and I specialise in helping couples deal with difficult issues! So get in touch and book an appointment if you want your difficult conversation facilitated in a non-judgemental, neutral way.


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