The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful time for some couples. From deciding which wine to bring, to which partner's family and in-laws you should first visit, it can be quite a challenge. Once you're married, simple things like deciding how to spend the holidays should always be communicated, and sometimes compromised.
If you're engaged, dating, or married, you might be coping with your first divided holiday situation. As early as possible, you should be able to work this out with your spouse or partner before matters get out of hand.
Let us explore different ways how to navigate the holidays as a couple. This can help your prepare yourself mentally and emotionally when spending the holidays together. Between navigating split households and dealing with tough family dynamics and traditions, we have come up with a list that can surely help you out.
Dealing With Relationship Stress During The Holidays
If this is your first post-pandemic holiday together, whether you're dating or newly married, it's important to consider your partner during this time. Compromising holiday parties can be tough, not to mention deciding which side will get which this holiday.
The holidays can also pose even greater stress to couples who are currently in a rough patch, or are in the process of healing. If this is the case for you, then you'll have to prepare for it even more. The holidays can also mean acting fine and happy in front of friends and families to avoid awkward questions. A lot of communication must be done in order to keep things at bay.
However, you can still take all these stress around and turn it into a wonderful memory, or at the very least, make it easy while you're dwelling on some issues. Let's take a look at a few tips to see how to make your holiday season go smoothly as a couple.
Couple's Guide: Tips on How to Navigate the Holidays as a Couple
Make a decision on where you'll spend the holidays right away.
This year, don't put off making Christmas arrangements. You most likely want to spend the holiday with your own family, but your partner wants the same. You should be able to discuss it early and get into an agreement before the stress of Christmas day and the holidays come adding in.
You can also ask your family's help and understanding, if you think it's a much better option. If your parents or your partner's parents are having trouble adjusting to seeing less of you during the holidays, it might be helpful to ask them about how they handled the holidays when they were married.
You might deal with some conflict for your first holidays together. By working through your holiday difficulties together, you may improve your marriage by cultivating mutual understanding and a feeling of "us." You may cherish the opportunity to rejoice, express gratitude, and experience peace now that your disputes have been resolved.
It would be wise to have a conversation with your family ahead of time if you think they have the tendency to question your spouse about things to the point of exhaustion. To preserve the peace over a holiday meal, make it plain to your family what is and is not acceptable to discuss. Establishing boundaries is very important with any kind of relationship, especially between spouses and families.
Similarly, you and your spouse should also establish clear guidelines for what may and cannot be addressed with one other's families. It will spare you from really awkward dinner talks as well as any subsequent similarly unpleasant interactions between the two of you.
Tell your partner about your holiday traditions and customs.
Make sure your spouse or partner isn't the only one at the Christmas Eve party who has no idea on what's going on or what's about to happen. Every family has some kind of holiday tradition. It is your responsibility to tell your spouse or partner about it than just expect them to know exactly how your family does things. You must inform your spouse of where and how you usually spend the holidays with your family. Share the significance of particular celebrations with your partner if they are significant to you.
Set aside some time to be alone together.
This is more important than many couples tend to anticipate. Being the center of attention can be tough, especially if you and your partner are more reserved or introverted. Between gatherings, you may require some quiet or alone time to help you recuperate from all the attention. If you're feeling overwhelmed, we recommend arranging time between events or even getting some alone time during a party.
Support and protection from each partner are important.
For support, lean on each other. After all, a good relationship is one in which our partners assist us in making adjustments and supporting our own development. Perhaps your companion is better at spotting challenging situations for you over the holidays than you are. Maybe one of you is better at diffusing conflict or improving the energy in the room through socializing. Identify anything you don't want to put up with this Christmas season, and practice doing something different with your partner's help, such as setting boundaries with family members.
The Stress of COVID During the Holidays
Managing COVID-related stress for the holidays as a couple is vital. As the pandemic winds down but still remains a risky issue, it's important to take the right precautions before traveling or gathering with a blended family.
To start, ensure that a proper mix of social distancing and mask-wearing will occur with your family members. Ideally, your family and parents will be vaccinated- but this may not be in your power to control.
Remember that the coronavirus challenge is also a chance to improve yourself and assist others. We feel better about ourselves when we help others. Worrying for the sake of worrying will not affect the present or the future. It's a good idea to try choosing peace of mind over worry right now. When your heart isn't clogged by fear, life feels different.
Remember that every obstacle is an opportunity disguised as a problem. The coronavirus challenge is an opportunity to improve rather than grow bitter. Take each day as it comes. You have no idea what the future holds. Today, give it your all. Use this as an opportunity to practice remaining in the present moment. After a stressful year, you and your partner deserve to relax and enjoy the holidays.
There will always be stresses that comes with the holiday season, but remember to put things aside and find time to heal, as a couple, and as an individual. If you want to learn more about how to navigate the holidays as a couple this Christmas season, you can also watch here how our resident relationship expert, Dana McNeil can help you better.