The holiday season is a time to come together with family and friends for celebration and connection. But sometimes the season of cheer does not feel so cheerful. Between shopping, booking travel and taking time off of work, things get stressful! Many times this stress is diverted to the person you love and need the most, your partner. Here are 6 common arguments and how to avoid them:
ONE: The In-Law Fight: Mixing couples and in-laws during the holiday season can be a tense situation, even when everyone gets along. If there is strain in the relationship with your S.O.’s family this creates added struggles.
Talk about the difficulties as a couple prior to visiting with the in-laws. Show support for your spouse. If a negative comment is made, stick up for your spouse. This protects the couple relationship and helps redirect how the in-laws engage with your S.O.
TWO: The Money Fight: Money is one of the top reasons couples fight and the holiday season only highlights the difficulties that may already exist. Racking up credit card bills can create significant problems for the relationship come January.
Protect the relationship by co creating a budget. Include the expenses of travel, gifts and charitable donations. Have a spending plan that you both agree to and can follow.
THREE: The Gifts Fight: Gift giving is meant to bring joy to both the giver and receiver. In reality, many of us feel great anxiety over how to give the right gift or worry that we will be disappointed.
Explain to your partner what is important to you about gift giving–give him/her clear ideas, so they can follow through with a gift that you truly treasure. This brings good cheer to both partners.
FOUR: The Traditions Fight: We all have long held holiday traditions from our own families that are dear to us. Coming together as a couple, especially if you are an interfaith or a blended family, can become complicated and hard.
Talk as a couple about what the more important aspects of your traditions are, the ones you want to keep; be flexible as a couple and allow room for each partner to continue certain holiday traditions. By coming together and blending traditions, you are creating something new, which fosters connection.
FIVE: The Kid Fight: You want to surprise the kids with every gift they want and your S.O. thinks you are spoiling them. Having different value systems about gift giving and receiving is especially poignant at the holiday season.
Talk with each other about your values regarding gifts. Create a gift list for each child along with a budget where you bend towards each other’s respective wishes. Then stick to what you decided together; buying additional gifts that weren’t agreed to undermines the relationship and stresses the holiday gift exchange experience.
SIX: The Time Fight: Shopping needs to be done, decorating, presents bought and wrapped, but you need to work more to take time off. Feeling as though you have to do everything is a burden that breeds resentment.
Decide who is doing what and when. Mark your calendars with time specifically devoted to both family and couple. Follow through on your commitments. This way each of you can relax and know that what must be done will be done, and that devoted time for connection is a part of the plan.