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The holiday season is a time of year that can easily overwhelm us. Our relationship may become a low priority during this busy time of year unless we pay attention to it. Below are six ways for you to manage the holiday season while making sure your partner is still a priority – despite multiple events, stresses and financial obligations.
1. Discuss what is important about the holiday season for each of you
We often individually remember previous holiday season events, how they played out and make our own interpretations about what happened. If you don’t discuss with your partner what is important for each of you, don’t assume that they will speak up if plans for this year don’t suit them. It’s a fact that many people are uncomfortable about discussing their needs or making explicit contracts. Many people mistakenly believe that the holidays should be only about others.
It’s helpful to ask your partner the following questions:
• What is the main thing that would make the holiday season enjoyable for you?
• How can I make sure you have the holiday you’d like?
• What can you personally do to make sure that happens?
• Can I tell you about my priorities so we can support each other during this time?
2. Be intentional with your choices
There are always demands to attend one more holiday event, buy one more gift, make one more dish or add one more decoration. When these choices arise, ask yourself “Will this matter in 10 years time?” Learning to say “No” in healthy ways to the extra demands of the holiday season can make the difference between feeling overjoyed and overwhelmed.
3. Set a budget for your holiday season
Discuss a budget together to avoid over indulging at this time of year. Aim to be on the same page with your partner to avoid any shocks when the credit card bills arrive. Prioritize what you’ll spend on, focus on one priority for each of you and budget for the money to make this time of year a special memory for both of you.
4. Schedule at least ten minutes daily for each of you to focus exclusively on each other
5. Set boundaries for extended family
The impact of other people’s expectations and traditions on your relationship can be stressful. Families can make statements like “Christmas day has been at our place for the last seven years” or “The holiday season will be ruined if you can’t join us”. These messages from our extended families are important opportunities for you to learn to set healthy boundaries to show your partner that they are now the primary focus in your life. When you choose to make their priorities your priorities, this strongly communicates that they matter to you. Your behaviour speaks louder than your words and you clearly communicate your priorities with your choices. This year, choose your partner.
6. Discuss using alcohol, drugs and other treats
If any of these items are a challenge for you and your partner at any time, not only during the holiday season, it’s a good idea to get some support from a wise friend or therapist. Without both of you making a joint plan, holiday seasons may result in resentments and negative memories about holidays and who you are to your partner. These negative experiences, especially if unrepaired, can last for many years.
Set time aside, be curious about your partner, share your needs and desires and make a joint plan.
Wishing you the best holiday season for you and your partner.
If you’re not managing stress over the holiday season, or at any time, and it is causing problems in your relationship, you may need an experienced relationship counsellor & coach. Call 0421 961 687 or email us to schedule an appointment. International callers should call +61 421 961 687.
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