Thursday, 23 June 2011

The make or break holiday

You've been going through a rough patch and things don't seem to be getting any better, or any worse for that matter. Your relationship is lurching from one crisis to another and you exist in two mental states;

  1. this is worth saving, I'm going to make an effort and work at it
  2. the effort is exhausting, let's carry on as we are and pretend the problems don't exist

There could be a number 3 here – which is “right, I'm making a decision, I'm *staying/*leaving” (*delete as applicable). Only option 3 doesn't belong in this post, because if you were able to make a decision, you wouldn't be in a make or break situation. Do you follow me?

So you decide to get away from it all, go on holiday, find out if you're meant to be together. Cue Jordan and Alex lording it up in 5* celebrity luxury, eating aphrodisiacs before jumping into their super-king sized bed with turquoise sea views.

NO! I say, that won't work, it's a fake environment, with all that alcohol, treatments and stunning vistas, you're bound to decide to give it another go. What you really need to do is go camping.

You see, I've just been camping. In the UK. With my husband. And my two children under 5. With no electricity. In bad weather.

In other words, I've just had the ultimate test of my relationship. No sleep, grumpy children, shit food and a permanent chill in your bones. Oh and sour milk in the morning (I forgot the cool bag). What I realised was, that if I was ever to find myself in a make or break situation, then a romantic getaway wouldn't be a true test of my marriage. But a camping holiday would.

We faced the ultimate tests. Packing for what me and the kids need, versus what will fit in his car. Putting up a tent in high winds, with bent poles, no instructions and lots of blame. Allocating the beds, deciding who sleeps with which child and who gets the duvet. Preparing gourmet food on a 1970's gas stove, with one pan and a plastic spoon. Being trapped together, in a confined space, because the kids wont sleep til it's dark, the rain won't stop and it's the UK, so everything shut at five.

We faced it and we survived. We had our moments, but now we're home and we're laughing about it already. We might even do it again. So next time you see a celeb couple on holiday because their marriage is on the rocks, shout at the TV as I do, and say 'you should have gone bloody camping'.