The holidays can be a great time for families and couples to spend time together. It can be a time to bond and create memories. You may even have more time to spend together and focus on family while off from work. Family dinners, shopping, tree trimming, and parties are all meant to create happy times together and memories for the future. The reality does not always match, though. The holidays can add stress with all the extra things you need to accomplish on top of your already busy lives. Sometimes our expectations can be unrealistic. We have beliefs about what he holidays “should” look like, and that cause even more stress. We can get so busy trying to create that Hallmark commercial holiday that we end up not making time for the things that matter the most, including time for our partner. Holidays can also be a time of year that triggers old wounds which can create feelings of sadness, loss and unfulfilled desires. Family get-togethers might end up causing stress if there are disagreements and tension between family members.
How do we manage the holidays while still feeling a strong connection with our partner? After all, the gift of our time, our attention and our love is the greatest gift you can give.
The most important aspect is managing your expectations. Are yours realistic? Are you expecting the holiday to be too perfect? It is important to stop and look at your thoughts, beliefs and expectations. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do and have. Choose thoughts and actions that ground you instead of adding to your stress. Having a positive mindset will make a big difference in your experience.
Work as a team with your partner. Discuss what you will do for the holidays, and make plans together. Remember that you are a team, and keep it fun. Don’t get so caught up in the process and stuff that you forget what is really important. It is more about the experience than the specifics. The feeling of the holiday is what everyone will remember. Instead of trying to do too much, make sure you are enjoying yourself. Maybe pick one thing that becomes your tradition; this will create a bond. We do this with the whole family, but do you have something special for just you and your partner? Don’t forget about your relationship in all the holiday hustle and bustle.
Holidays can be stressful with all of the extra things that need to be done on top of your normal to do list! Women are the ones who generally get the added list of things to accomplish. I know for me, this can cause enough stress to put me in a place of feeling overwhelmed which can lead to feeling grumpy! I can feel more like the Grinch than Santa at times. I was talking to a very wise friend the other day, and he was very aware of how much extra his wife does during the holiday season. He said he always makes the extra effort to help with more of the household chores during this time of year. He asks her what he can do to help and takes a proactive approach to keeping his relationship a priority during the holiday. Being aware and helpful along with open communication is something we can all do during this busy season. Try to be open to new experiences, find perfection in the small things and keep realistic expectations.
Finally, remember to have fun and maintain the intimacy in your relationship during this busy time of year. The greatest gift we can give our partner is the gift of our time and attention. Don’t forget your relationship and your partner during this holiday season.
Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS