The Thanksgiving holiday is one that is centered on sharing quality time with our families and our mates. But it can also be a stressful time and that stress can affect our marriages, both in the short-term and long after the holidays are over. Expectations and ideals are high; we want everything to be warm, loving and well, perfect. Those kinds of expectations can set us up for tension and disagreements with our spouses. But relationship expert Leslie Doares has a great article this week on YourTango.com, offerring 5 excellent tips on keeping your marriage happy during the holidays.
As Doares explains,
Pressure to get the right gifts, spend the right amount of time with the right people, attend all possible festivities, and do it all with never-ending joy and holiday spirit; these expectations and associated guilt can take its toll, (but) there is a way to enjoy the holidays and take care of yourself and your marriage at the same time.”
Here are her suggestions:
1. Address Past Holiday Upsets
Sit down with your partner and identify what problems have occurred in the past. Then, take a good look at how your behavior plays into the pattern. Identify how you have behaved in response to the situation in the past and develop a different, more productive, approach.”
Maybe you or your spouse didn’t get to spend time with your respective families, or one of you ended up with the lion’s share of holiday duties (and the resentment that caused). Identify the problems, listen openly to what each of you has to say, then come up with solutions together as well.
2. Feel What You Feel And Then Find A Way To Let It Go
If you feel slighted or unappreciated or your spouse gets on your nerves, put it into the proper perspective. How important is it really, within the bigger picture of the holiday and your marriage? Acknowledge that you’re upset, but then try to move on before it turns into a problem that casts a pall over the holiday and your relationship.
3. Focus On Your Family
It’s ironic, but taking care of all of the details of this family-centered holiday often makes us miss the time we should be spending WITH that family.
Make sure you are taking time each day to do something just with your partner and/or your children.”
4. Have A Routine
Just as toddlers can become overstressed when their normal day to day routine is upset, things can become tense and conflicts can arise when a family’s daily routine is absent during the holidays. Try to keep as much of your daily schedule intact as you can, including naps, exercise time and going to bed and waking up at pretty much your usual time as well.
5. Be Proactive
One of the stressful things about the holidays is that there are so many people involved, each with their own ideas about what you should do, where you should go and what you should eat. Doares has some good advice about how to handle differing expectations.
Take ownership of your holidays and have an alternative plan. The holiday police may want to rule your life, but that can only happen if you let them. If the only way to ensure peace and harmony in your relationship is to stay in a hotel, or shorten the visit by a couple of days, do it. Maintaining the long term health of your relationship is the best gift you can give or receive at the holidays.”
That tip, above all, is probably the most important one to remember! Have a wonderful holiday!