Skip to main content

The Happiest Place on Earth – NOT (this time)





We recently went to Disneyland with our  adult daughter and our 2 year old granddaughter. All three adults had high hopes for a fun-filled family time at the “happiest” place on earth. When naysayers told us we were crazy for taking a two year old to Disneyland, we scoffed at them. We’ve been there, done this before. But we hadn’t been there, done that with a toddler. The crowds, a cranky toddler, and plenty of unmet expectations led to a communication breakdown that was a debacle for all of us. None of us ended up having much fun and we left a day early.


Steph: So, what did I learn? We needed better communication before and during this trip. Articulating our hopes/expectations in advance probably would have saved some strife later such as: how we would handle nap times, crankiness, hunger, and the business of our itinerary. For example, I expected there might be crowds and we would just roll with it. I also figured our granddaughter missing her nap for a few days wasn’t a big deal. So, when I sensed Paul was feeling frustrated by the crowds and the length of time we were staying in the park, I had an attitude of “get over it.”  I judged his negative attitude was getting in the way of us having fun and my exasperation showed. When Paul tried to express how he was feeling, instead of listening I had a ready answer. Allowing him to express his feelings would have been more productive than me sighing  and giving him the silent treatment.

Paul: I learned that talking out what happened afterwards (well outside the moment) was definitely a good building block to understanding our different needs for these kinds of situations going forward. Obviously, this needs to be done with respect and sensitivity in order to be successful. For example, after the trip, we re-evaluated what went right and what went wrong. I shared with Steph that maybe our granddaughter was too young for this kind of a vacation and perhaps she would enjoy it more when she was older. I recalled an earlier Couples Post article (Taking Your Marriage on Vacation) about choosing one or two things that are especially important to each of us ahead of time and making it a point to do those things. For us, discussing a game plan in advance is an effective way to resolve conflict and prevent future fallout.  

In the end, we took some time after returning home to affirm what we each did well during the trip – our daughter’s careful planning of the vacation and attention to her sick child; Stephanie’s care-taking of all of us including having food available and lots of words of affirmation; and Paul’s willingness to take on the long drive and financial planning. Looking for the good in each other helps us focus on our positive qualities and keeps us grounded as a couple and as a family. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Advice From a Divorce Lawyer

Yes, this is a strange twist.  We recently heard about James J Sexton's book, "If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late."  James is a divorce attorney from New York, who started noticing some patterns after 20 years of working with couples whose marriages were ending.

Great Sex!

Sex between a married couple is not only good, it’s very good. If you read the research and surveys, you will find that married couples experience better and more frequent sex than non-married couples. Married couples are healthier, happier, and live longer. When we went on a WorldWide Marriage Encounter weekend, we were more than a little surprised when a priest told us that our love-making is good, is important for us, and is important to the world. He encouraged us to “make mad passionate love!”
    So, why has married sex become something else? Society and media portray sex for married couples as dull and lifeless, a tool used to manipulate, something to joke about, and something that - beyond the newlywed phase- gradually drifts away. We’ve been sold this bill of goods, and we often buy into it! What we really crave in our sex life is to give and receive something powerful- to experience the depths of our passion and love for each other, to be as intimate as possible. Our freq…

Sex on Days Ending in 'Y'

Lovemaking is one of the most important aspects of a healthy marriage.  Yet there are so many impediments and inhibitions to making love once those wonderful Honeymoon years are over.