In the coming weeks, roughly one out of every five people in America will gather together with their family and friends at a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. However, these festive gatherings can also be sources of stress for many Americans.
In fact, around two-thirds of all Americans claim that the holiday season has a significant impact on their overall mood and sense of well-being. This article covers some simple ways to protect your marriage against this holiday stress by avoiding additional strain on your relationship during this time of year.
Set Realistic Holiday Expectations
For starters, it is important to remember that not everyone you know celebrates holidays in the same way, so expecting everyone to behave exactly as they are outside of the holidays might lead you to feel angry or frustrated at them. This frustration often stems from the idea that others are making your holiday celebrations worse because they don’t celebrate things in the same way you do.
However, it is important to realize that even within families there are different traditions and ways of doing things, so try not to single anyone out for “ruining” your holidays because they don’t behave exactly as you would expect during this time of year.
Spend Quality Time Together
One of the best ways to protect your marriage against holiday stress is by taking time out of your day together instead of allowing work and other sources of stress to pull you apart.
Choose one or two days during the next several weeks to focus on your relationship with one another instead of focusing on all of the different distractions at once. This time could be anything from a date at lunch or dinner to simply cuddling up on the couch with each other for an hour after the kids go to bed.
By making it a point during this time of year to keep both yourself and your spouse happy, you can avoid additional strain on your relationship during this most hectic season.
Have a Conversation About Gift-Giving
In order to protect your marriage against additional stress during the holiday season, it is important to have “the talk” about gift-giving expectations. If one or both partners in a relationship has completely different ideas of what is considered a “thoughtful” gift then this could lead to unnecessary arguments and disagreements about holiday spending.
This conversation should also include an honest discussion about budgeting for extended family, children, and each other. This can ultimately prevent financial strain, one of the most common sources of holiday stress.
Talking about gift-giving expectations can lead to much less holiday stress for married couples, but it is important to keep in mind that individuals might still disagree about what constitutes an appropriate holiday gift. This means that talking through your expectations for one another alone will not solve all of your problems, but it is still an excellent foundation for avoiding additional tension during this hectic time of year.
By avoiding additional strain on your marriage, you can potentially enjoy the holiday season a lot more even if it does lead to some temporary stress. Remember that the holidays aren’t about how much stress you feel, but rather they’re about enjoying time spent with your loved ones.
If you find that the holiday season is a yearly source of strain in your marriage, it might be time to sit down and talk to a licensed therapist.
Want to find out more about how counseling can help, or simply want to know all of the benefits that come from choosing this form of treatment? Contact Solace Emotional Health today.