Ready or not the Holidays are here! It seems every year; most people are surprised at how fast the Holidays came around, but one thing we know for sure …it does come around! Did you know that January is like Christmas for most divorce attorneys with spikes in divorce consultations following the Holidays? What can you do to avoid being a part of that New Year statistic? There are five areas that you must be proactive in during this Holiday season with your spouse to survive the holidays!
1) MONEY continues to be a huge conflict for most couples. It is important that you do not avoid the “money talk” in the hopes that the other person does not notice the increased spending bills. It is healthy for the relationship to have a discussion about the Holiday spending budget and to consult with each other on the purchases of gifts. This will avoid any surprises after the fact or resentment from one person feeling like they were not included in the financial decision-making process for the Holiday spending.
2) IN-LAWS can become the topic of many couples heated discussions around the Holidays especially if they all live in the same city! You can avoid this hot button issue by having an agreed upon way that is fair to you both to spend the holidays with the extended family. For some couples, this means alternating each holiday with the different families. For example, you have Thanksgiving at his parent’s house and you spend Christmas at your parents, etc. This does not have to be a hot topic if you proactively discuss expectations and get on the same page before the Holidays arrive!
3) STRESS MANAGEMENT or the lack thereof can make or break the joy of the Holidays if you do not have coping strategies in place for yourself when things get overwhelming with the to-do-lists, gift purchases, holiday pictures, card mailings, etc. If you have coping strategies that you use during other times of the year than now would be the time to pull them out of your toolbox. If you do not have any coping strategies it would be a good idea to just keep it simple rather than try to learn anything new during this time. You can plan ahead, schedule your to do items over a time period, take breaks, rest and talk about your worries with trusted people in your life.
4) COMMUNICATION is important now more than ever. If you have a tendency to shut down when you get stressed, it is imperative to fight the temptation to do so because this will contribute to a relationship break down. On the other hand, if you are that person that vomits your worry and every thought on those you love, you also want to fight that attraction to ease your own anxiety. You want to curb your communication by realizing the world does not revolve around you and those around you have their own holiday fears. Therefore, choose your conversations carefully, but do express yourself to safe people and at a time that is convenient for the other person too.
5) SEXUAL CONNECTION during the holiday season can decrease if you are not keeping it as a priority between you and your significant other. When couples get stressed or run in overdrive they will often neglect this important connection shared between their self and partner. You want to look for opportunities to connect and have fun with each other despite the time of the year. I imagine that making the relationship the priority even during the Holiday rush will lower the frustration and stress between the two of you.
Pick one or two of the five to start working on today! Just as the Holiday shopping list is the priority, why not make the relationship at the top of your list too? You can start by checking in with your partner also during this time…how are they doing? Is there anything that they need from you? What would they like to have as a special memory just between the two of you during this Holiday Season? Go ahead and put your excuses aside and engage in the hard stuff now to make the relationship much easier in the long run!
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