How To Achieve Holiday Harmony In Your Relationship

Four friends smiling and toasting their glasses at a party(BlackDoctor.org) — To many young couples, the anticipation of that first holiday together can arouse an almost unspeakable excitement. The internal scripts of heart-warming family welcomes, an open-armed mother-in-law, and frustration-free finance talks bring about as many fetching images as gleefully dancing sugar plum fairies.

For those of us who have been indoctrinated, we know that those flitting fairies are certainly that—fairytale images of what it means to be in a real relationship and have real feelings with real issues to contend with during the holiday season. The decisions to buy one another gifts (or put the money into this year’s renovations, or pay off built-up student loans), how much to spend on the kids, and where to spend the “it” holiday (your family’s house or mine?) can certainly produce a whirlwind of emotions and even lead to unspoken, but eventually acted out, resentments. So in the seasonal spirit of goodness and joy for all, I’ve composed a few clinically proven suggestions to help make you and your partner re-experience just a touch of that first-time together holiday fever.

Constructive Conversations are Key

These questions (again, such as finance talks, whose ex-wife/husband gets to share in the holiday feast), regardless of the holiday, can evoke very strong emotions in partners, even those long-standing ones, for a variety of reasons. The first thing to consider is how to have a mature, open conversation about what to do, without allowing those strong emotions to temper the results of either the conversation, the decision, or most importantly, your relationship (no, that doesn’t mean downing a bottle of scotch before you speak). Acting mature may seem daunting at first, especially if you and your partner tend to be the stick-your-tongues-out or not-speak-for-days-at-a-time type. But maturity in these matters is not only desirable, it is attainable.

First, plan a time when you are going to get together to have the discussion. This may seem silly at first, but couples who set out time for one another, and especially set out time for these important conversations, last longer. It signifies respect for the other person and that you not only want to be heard but are also willing to listen. After all, no one wants to be caught just out of the shower or out of the door to work with a half-eaten bagel in hand only to be pressured (or told, or nagged, or criticized) into making a decision. You can even make it a romantic dinner/evening so that it isn’t something to dread, but, rather, something to look forward to.