Happy Holidays – for Both of You | Communication | Articles | Better Marriages | Educating Couples - Building Relationships

Happy Holidays – for Both of You

by Priscilla and Greg Hunt, PhD


See Jane planning for the holidays. Planning menus, dinner parties, shopping excursions. Planning gift-giving, card-sending, trips to visit family. Planning volunteer work and end-of-year giving. See Jane stress.
What Jane has forgotten to plan is quality time with Dick. And including Dick in the planning. See Dick feel left out, ignored, angry and hurt.
This scenario can only create more stress than there already is this time of year. Take these tips to heart and you’ll be more likely to experience happy holidays.
Practice Good Communication
Remember to include your partner at the discussion stage of holiday planning. Resist the temptation to map everything out and simply inform your partner. We all want to be taken seriously and we each have preferences and desires related to how the holidays will be spent.
Create Quality Time
Remember to build into the busy schedule quiet, down time with your mate. Sit in front of the fire and sip hot chocolate together. Listen to and sing along with holiday music. Play board games. Go for a walk. All these shared activities are important to ensure you emerge from the holidays with your relationship connection intact.
Make Room for Affection and Intimacy
When your hands are busy wrapping gifts and baking cookies they can’t be, well, doing other things. Your mate needs to experience your physical closeness – hand-holding, hugs, sex – and these can easily go by the wayside when you’re focused on other things. Cuddle on the sofa. Rub each other’s backs. Scoot your chair just a little bit closer.
Cut Each Other Some Slack
When we’re stressed there’s lots of opportunity for misunderstandings. You can choose to become irritated with your spouse or you can choose to let it go. Now is a good time to give each other a break. Practice taking deep breaths and calming yourself before responding.
Take Care of Yourself
Are you getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night? Taking multivitamins? Exercising? Drinking plenty of water? All these things can help you feel stronger and ready for whatever the day brings. The holidays aren’t just about others – they are also about you.
Moderate Your Spending
It’s easy to go overboard with holiday spending. This alone can cause conflict and friction in your relationship. Is one of you a saver and one of you a spender? Lots of room here for negative feelings toward the other. And it’s no fun when the bills come due in January! Think of non-material or homemade gifts, particularly for friends and co-workers. Perhaps a mini banana nut bread loaf or a tin filled with candy. How about a heart-felt note printed on your computer in calligraphy and placed in a small frame? Gifts don’t need to be extravagant to express your love and well wishes. It truly is the thought that counts when it’s evident that you’re putting thought into your gift-giving.
Happy holidays can be a reality. But only if you’re willing to give it some thought and follow up with action.
Happy holidays to you – and to your special other!

More reading: Survival Guide for Couples: Home for the Holidays.