It’s that time of year again, where the holidays are fast approaching and there is a lot to be done. Couples may find themselves arguing more this time of year due to stress from all the preparations. I have put together a guide for couples on how they can work through conflict in a healthy way so their disagreements don’t turn into something bigger.
To start, I’d like to go over what contributes to holiday stress.
First of all: the added pressure and responsibility that comes with hosting a large family gathering can be overwhelming for even the most experienced hosts. Couples may also feel pressured by families or friends who they want to spend time with on holidays. Couples may also feel stressed about their plans for the holidays — which traditions do they continue and which ones can they let go of?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by holiday stress, try these tips to keep your relationship healthy this season:
– Create a shared list of tasks that need to be done in preparation for the holidays. So there is no confusion and everyone knows what is expected of them.
– Create a budget for your holiday spending and stick to it! Couples can avoid bickering over money by setting expectations ahead of time about how much they want to spend on gifts, food, etc. Work together on gift shopping — don’t stress yourselves out trying to find the perfect gifts!
– Plan in advance how you will deal with any potential conflict that arises during the holidays. Set a time every week to have an open conversation about what is getting you down, and how your partner can help lift your spirits when it all gets too much.
If you find yourself in disagreement over something during the holidays — take some time to reflect on why this is important to you before coming back together for your weekly conversation.
Discuss any feelings of resentment or pressure you are feeling with your partner. Come up with potential solutions together, rather than letting conflict escalate into a fight. Remember that, in the grand scheme of things, a disagreement over holiday plans is not worth jeopardizing your relationship.
Couples should also remember to practice active listening during the conflict — this means repeating back what you hear from your partner and asking questions about their views before responding with yours.
– Be flexible about which traditions you will continue, in order to accommodate everyone’s needs. Find a compromise that works for both of you when it comes to holiday plans and traditions.
– On the day of your holiday gathering, make sure you communicate about what time people can expect dinner and who is responsible for setting up/cleaning up afterward. This way, no one feels like their contribution was overlooked or
– Make sure to leave some time for yourselves during the holidays.
Couples should agree to spend time together in ways that are not related to family or traditions, so you can maintain your own relationship and connect with each other outside of the holiday season. Do an activity that is low stress but fun — like going out for dinner, watching a movie, or having a picnic in the park. Try to make time for intimacy if possible during this stressful season, so they can keep their connection strong.
Finally, remember that the holidays aren’t just about building memories — they’re also about spending time with those you love most and celebrating what is truly important to you. Work together with your partner on how to achieve this goal throughout the holiday season!
Have a Wonderful Holiday Season!