Navigating through a new (or even veteran) relationship can get tricky and become super stressful during the holiday’s. Sometimes stress, expectations, and not communicating can be a recipe for disaster. Communication is the key to having a good holiday with your partner. You don’t want to celebrate this season with a side of resentment.
Before the events get going, or parties planned, or families to visit, having a game plan with each other will make all the difference in having a good holiday.
Here are some tips from two relationship experts to help you through those high-stress holiday situations that like to bear their ugly heads and cause chaos in an otherwise happy union.
Remembering Date Night –
Dr. Jean Fitzpatrick, a New York couples’ therapist, says, “Spontaneous play is unlikely to happen at this time of year, [so] schedule it. Make sure your relationship is on your calendar, whether that means a quiet meal, a board game, or a run in the park. Small rituals can mean so much. Put your devices away, and share a cup of tea or a glass of wine at the end of the day.” The couple that chills out together stays together.
Heads up –
“Give your partner a warning of what your family is like.” “Things happen at family gatherings that people hold grudges for over years. Do not let potential in-laws become outlaws. We’re dealing with people, the holidays, plus alcohol. Embrace the chaos.”
***Another tip is to make sure you don’t go to your significant others’ family house empty handed. It is gracious to bring a bottle of wine, or even just a candle to show your appreciation of being invited to celebrate with their family.
Time for each other –
Dr. Fitzpatrick advises: “Be sure you get some ‘couple time’ during your stay, but be discreet, and recognize that family visits bring challenges for many couples. Instead of blaming your partner or defending yourself, try to approach these as an opportunity to work as a team to build your relationship.”
Embracing new traditions and sharing expectations –
“Have a conversation with your partner about your respective histories around holiday rituals, including sharing memories (best and worst), describing family traditions (favorite and least favorite), and expressing your respective feelings about the real meaning of the holidays in order to come up with special ones of your own this year.” And, for the rest of us, there’s always Festivus.
Gift giving expectations –
Dr. Barton Goldsmith (therapist and author of the new relationship manual, The Happy Couple) admits that “the gift exchange can be tricky. Talk about it offline. Like, in July.” It’s clearly too late for that now, but Dr. Goldsmith insists — “expectations and boundaries need to be discussed… It’s not romantic, but it’s necessary. Keep expectations reasonable and give from your heart.”
http://www.gottmanblog.com – Great relationship resource blog that has a ton of helpful relationship information.