As we’ve posted recently, the holidays can be a time of great joy and warmth and are a time of year that can bring couples together and strengthen a marriage. But the holidays can also bring with them a lot of tension, whether because of busy schedules, financial stress or, very commonly, family squabbles.
We caught a post this week called “Surviving family Squabbles” on the FamilySurvivalCoach.com that offers some great tips for avoiding and/or surviving family squabbles this holiday season.
Following these tips could help you to get through the holidays with your joy and your marriage intact.
The author explains that these tips aren’t about major issues you may be going through or serious problems and conflicts, but the little things that often crop up during the holidays. As she points out, handling these minor conflicts well can actually strengthen your marriage.
Low-level family conflict, if handled well, can even be a good thing. In the process of resolving differences family members can often emerge from a scrap with a clearer understanding of one another and a resolve to interact more positively.”
Here are some of the tips she shares with readers:
- If there’s pride that needs to be swallowed, you may just have to do it. Remember that the relationship is more important than being right all the time.
- Congratulate family members who are willing to back down from a position in order to resolve a squabble. Help them restore dignity and the need to save face when you can.
- Offer to negotiate and make concessions – a willingness to meet half way can work wonders.
- Acknowledge that many family conflicts are caused by misunderstandings rather than genuine disagreement, so make clear communication a family focus.
- Stick to the issues and the facts when solving a conflict and avoid the temptation to resurrect old battles – it’s irrelevant who gave who’s Barbie a haircut 25 years ago! If the focus is on repairing the present and fixing the future rather than naming and shaming about the past, you’re on the right path.
We think these are all excellent ideas that can not only keep small conflicts from escalating into major issues that can really hurt your marriage, but can also save your holidays from being tainted with anger, bitterness and hurt feelings.