The end of the year brings holidays and happiness for many. Unfortunately, it also can create a strain on relationships. Finances, travel plans and unspoken expectations can all cause stress. For some, this turns the holiday season into the breakup season.
Before you give up on your relationship, consider these four tips to strengthen your marriage and get back to enjoying the holiday season.
1. Take Time for Yourselves
The holiday rush can feel crazed. Plans with family and friends may mean you’re traveling out of state. Or maybe you’re just rushing around town from one celebration to the next. Either way, the pressure to meet everyone’s expectations can be overwhelming. For couples struggling to hold on, it can be the final push toward becoming victims of breakup season.
In the midst of it all, take time to be together. A date night or a quiet evening at home can make a tremendous difference in the connection you feel to each other. Talk to your spouse when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. The rush will always be part of getting ready for the holidays but spending time on your relationship can help protect you from the breakup season.
2. Set Spending Limits
One huge stress for couples around the holidays is money. From decorating and gifts to hosting a big family get-together, there’s no shortage of places to overspend. Far too many couples blow their budgets or take on debt that will last well beyond the holiday joy.
Communicate with your spouse to set a reasonable budget for the season. Talk to each other about gift expectations for yourselves and others, and focus on your long-term relationship goals and plans. The breakup season kicks in when people stop talking about what matters. You can do more for each other by staying within a sensible plan and committing to your future.
3. Drink in Moderation
Many people indulge in alcoholic drinks around the holidays. You may be looking forward to a glass of wine or a family eggnog recipe. It’s reasonable for a responsible adult to drink in moderation. If you go beyond your limits, a festive celebration can quickly turn into a rude or hurtful scene.
The breakup season kicks into gear when people lose control. Depending on your situation, you may want to avoid alcohol altogether. Before you go to a holiday party or open the liquor cabinet after a long day, think about your limits. Keep your drinking to levels that allow you to think clearly and treat your loved ones well.
4. Keep Communicating
At some point, you will probably feel like you’re flying through the season. You want to get everything done and include some surprises for your loved ones. This can push you into the breakup season by creating distance between you and your spouse. Without quality communication, it’s far too easy to drift apart. Remember to take time to check in with one another. Review your task lists together and prioritize your time as a couple. Take a moment to laugh and remember the meaning of the holiday season for each of you.
Unfortunately, not every relationship survives. The holidays create the breakup season by exposing underlying problems that have always existed. When you feel this happening, take a step back to focus on each other.
If you find that you can’t maintain your relationship, you can still approach it with love and respect. There are ways, such as using a collaborative divorce process, to make ending a relationship less stressful. A communication specialist is one of the professionals who can guide you and your spouse through the process. They can help you to navigate your divorce to prepare for your future with improved communication skills.
Contact a professional at Best Legal Choices to learn why a collaborative divorce may be the right option for you.
Heidi has been a family counselor for 16 years and has worked primarily with separating/divorcing and high conflict families for the past 4 years. Heidi’s goal is to help families reduce the need for future litigation, build resilience and healing, and help families focus on the best interests of the children and parents alike.