Summer is upon us. Summer brings with it holidays, family time, holiday preparations and expectations, and some stress brought on by kids being home for the summer. The reality is that families that have problems often argue and fight at holiday time. The summer is unkind to rocky relationships. This is due to the responsibility put on certain members of the family during holidays and the disappointment that occurs when summer expectations are not realized. Here are some things to think about during periods of summer stress:
First: It is only summer. It is not magical and you will not die if the fireworks do not go off, if sand is tracked into the beach house, or your spouse forgets fuel for the barbecue. You need to weigh the infraction against the overall success of the marriage and realize that most fights are not really about forgotten charcoal. The charcoal is really a metaphor for deeper structural problems in the marriage.
Second: When you build up high expectations you are always going to be let down. Our imaginations do not have to contend with traffic, lines in the store, sunburn or fatigue. We can envision the perfectly charred steak or that party were everyone arrives on time, well tanned, well oiled and fun to be with. Then reality turns south. Reality always turns south; that is a given. How you deal with it and what stress it creates is up to you.
Three: Before you fight with your spouse, consider what it means and how it will end. Hurtful words, like bells, can not be un-rung. Once said, the wrong words can hover over a marriage . Enough bad words, and the bells will play — a funeral dirge.
Fourth: Pick your fights. Consider it worth the cost to the family. And to you. Do you want your marriage to crash and burn? Do you want it to crash with the kids at home and/or in front of everybody at the family picnic?
Fifth: Marriages that end badly result in expensive, acrimonious divorces that cost too much and go nowhere. If you find the summer taking the marriage to it’s final resting place don’t cover it up. Talk honestly about it. Honesty could make all the difference.
Sixth: If you are trying to save the marriage, consider getting a marriage counselor. When things get tough you may need someone to talk you off the ledge.
In conclusion, whoever wrote “Those lazy, hazy . . . days of summer”, was probably not married. Summer, any vacation or holiday time, is a breeding ground for marital strife. If you are aware of it you are ahead of the game. If you sit back and cool off before you react you and your family will have a more successful summer.