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Black and Married with Kids: How To Go On Vacation Without Fighting

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Frustrated African American Couple
What’s the point of going on vacation with your spouse if you are going to argue and fuss the entire time? Vacations are supposed to be relaxing. They’re supposed to be a time where you and your spouse can reconnect and rekindle the flame.

When we returned from our vacation last week, my husband said: “Thank you for an awesome trip. I had a great time. I think it was one of our best trips so far. And I love you.” No lie -- he really said that!

Before I tell you how we got to this point, I have to tell you that things were not always this way. We used to argue on our vacations. I would waste lots of valuable vacation time on being mad.

He would say: “You’re always getting mad about something while we are on vacation.” And I would say: “You’re always doing something to make me mad while we are on vacation.” But if it is a 3 or 4-day vacation, why in the world would I spend 1 day or even 1 hour being mad?

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If I am really honest with myself, most of the problems came from me. (I said most not all Lamar...as I know you are reading this and laughing and thinking I knew it!!!!)

So we made a few simple changes that have allowed us to truly enjoy being together on vacation. The first thing we did was to communicate. We actually talked about why I was getting mad at him on vacation. I told him that he was not showing me enough attention and affection on the trips. He is very affectionate at home (way more than me). But when we are on vacation, it’s like we flip and I want to be all lovey-dovey. It seems that my love language completely changes when I am on vacation from acts of service to quantity time. And when I do not get the attention I want, my attitude kicks in.

So just talking about what an ideal vacation looks like with each other helped tremendously. Now, I totally appreciate his efforts to make me feel special on vacation. And if he gets distracted by work for short periods, I am not so annoyed.

I also noticed that there were things that I was doing before the trip that contributed to my attitude. I was stressing myself out trying to get a million things done before leaving, such as cleaning the house, packing clothes, paying bills and balancing accounts, washing and combing hair, working late hours because everyone wants something before you leave as if you are not coming back to work.

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I did two things that to cut down on my stress before the trip. First, I shortened my to-do list and only did the things that were essential. Really…the house does not have to be dusted and vacuumed before you leave. Although it is nice to come home to a pristine home, I would much rather be relaxed on my vacation.)

Secondly, I asked for help, which my family was very willing to give. I just had to open my mouth and ask. Lamar and I now work together to prepare for our vacations. We make a list of all that needs to be done, we cross off the unnecessary items, and then we tackle that list together.

It goes like this now:

Me: “I’ll get the oil changed.”
Him: “No I got it… I will get it changed when I run out later.”
Him: Hey babe, don’t worry about doing that it doesn’t need to be done before we go.”
Me: “OK.”
Before we left on our last trip Lamar asked me what needed to be done. I told him my biggest task was to comb our three girls’ hair. He offered to help comb their hair. “Ahhhhh that’s nice boo……but no…I have seen your pony tails.” So he did other things to prepare for our trip.

Cutting down on my stress before we left, made a huge difference in how we interacted during our vacation.

Finally, keep a positive attitude. Be nice to each other and find ways to make each other happy. Don’t argue or worry about things that you cannot change on the vacation such as bills or past hurts or annoying habits. Vacation is no place for discussing those things, unless you are going on vacation specifically to address them.

Hold hands, hug, kiss, and have plenty of sex (if the kids aren’t in the bed next yours.) If you do these things, work together, and communicate, you too will have your boo thanking you for an awesome time on vacation.

Ronnie and Lamar Tyler are the founder of BlackandMarriedwithKids.com.

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Filed Under: Making It Work
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