The pressures are great: family obligations, overspending, and juggling parties and events. Plus, any trauma (such as loss of a loved one) magnifies around Christmas.
But, having a difficult time during the holidays doesn’t just affect individuals. It impacts relationships too, especially romantic ones. Whether it’s husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, or simply someone you want to date, the holiday stress can create all sorts of relationship problems.
But, you don’t have to breakup at Christmas or get to the point where you want to punch your partner. Here several tips of holiday relationship advice that will help you survive Hanukkah, Christmas, and all the way to New Year’s!
You might not believe it, but the holidays are the most common time of year to breakup. Don’t be a statistic! Let your holiday be a time of fun and joy, not heartbreak.
Got all your shopping done? Have you ordered the food for your 3 different parties? Scheduled the different Christmas pageants for your son, daughter, nephew and fifth cousin’s stepson’s roommate?
If you feel rushed around Christmas, whether individually or as a couple, then you might need to slow down and catch your breath. Holidays pull people in many different directions. Some people can bend, while others simply break from the pressure.
Even if you can’t cut back your events, at the very least take some time to sit down and relax. Even if it’s just sitting in front of the Christmas tree with a cup of coffee in your hand for five minutes, it’ll help you feel better. You can do this alone or with your partner. The key is that you lessen the stress.
Set Boundaries As A Couple
At Christmastime, most of the stress comes from dealing with other people. Your mom might want you to visit her on Christmas at the exact same time your partner’s Uncle wants you to have ham at his house. You and your partner feel the heat from all sides.
These types of situations are normal during the holidays. Similar fights can occur over how much to spend, what to get the kids, and even which parties to attend (or not). The alleged holiday festivity can lead to stress that turns many people into Grinches…and can lead to fights.
The best way to avoid unnecessary fights (other than the usual communicate and compromise) is to set boundaries as a couple. Get together and decide how much you’re going to spend, where you’ll be on important days, which events and parties you will attend, and so on.
By setting those boundaries and sticking to them, you will definitely cut down on holiday craziness and the fights that inevitably result. Make sure both you and your partner respect what you’ve set.
I watched a couple fight in the mall yesterday. They were out Christmas shopping and were clearly stressed. The woman sat down exhausted and the guy rounded up the kids. After grabbing a crying toddler, he snapped at his wife: “You never help me! You’re worthless today!”
Although it wasn’t that guy’s best moment, I’m going to assume he’s not a horrible person. I’m going to assume that he was stressed to the core and reacted poorly. What he lacked at that moment was empathy.
During the holidays, the stress can overwhelm even the strongest relationships. When emotions are high you can simply react rather than responding rationally. So, the person you love and cherish can become the enemy.
The best piece of holiday relationship advice to avoid breaking up is to practice empathy around Christmas. Empathy means the ability to understand the feelings of others. It’s not assuming what others feel, but trying to get at what’s going on inside of them.
So, if your spouse of stressed and anxious about the holidays and you feel like she is aggravating you on purpose, instead of assuming she’s just being a jerk, try to understand her motivations. She might just be stressed and overreacting.
While I’m not advising excusing bad behavior, if you always approach your partner with empathy, you can at least deescalate fights. If you and your partner both approach all issues with empathy, then your relationship will grow stronger, not just during the holidays, but for life! Here are a few good tips to practice empathy that you can use. Make sure you and your loved one practice them.
Prioritize Couple Time
Although Christmas is a time of joy and love, in many cases, the people and things men and women prioritize at Christmas aren’t truly where their heart lies.
For example, a loving couple might get so focused on buying gifts, dealing with family members, and stressing out over work that they grow distant from each other. It shouldn’t be that way over the holidays.
Make sure that, in the midst of the stress and even festivity, that you make your relationship with your partner of the highest priority. Yes, Christmas is about friends, faith, and family. But, if you put your partner far down that list, it’s going to create a strain.
Many people think couple time has to be a major event, like a weekend trip or a fancy date. While that can certainly be an option, anything you do together where you are mindfully focused on each other can bring you closer together and create stress relief.
Watch a Christmas special from your childhoods together, drive around and look at lights for an hour followed by cuddling, or simply sit in front of the tree, drink hot chocolate and talk. As long as you’re growing closer to your partner, your time together is very valuable.
Embrace The True Spirit of Christmas
However, the true spirit of the holidays isn’t about all of that. The true spirit focuses on love, joy, peace, happiness, and goodwill towards all.
If you find yourself getting worked up and fighting with your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife, remember that the holidays are about having a different spirit. Embrace that spirit instead of the stress and pressure.
So, these tips should help keep your relationship solid during the holidays. If you can come out of Christmas even more in love than ever, it’ll make sure the New Year is even better!