The holidays are packed with get-togethers, gifts, good meals, and shopping -- all things festive! While these are great and certainly fill up your calendar, relationships can often take a ‘hit’ during the season. One-on-one relationships are often neglected as we can become consumed with buying that perfect gift, decorating the house, and working to make sure our lights are the best on the block.
A variety of indicators—such as reported holiday break-ups (pre-, post-, and during), an uptick in relationship status changes on Facebook after holidays, or divorce lawyers phones ringing off the hook in January—suggest that couples experience more conflict during the holiday season (Russo).
Here are a few ways to ensure that your relationship with your loved one does not suffer.
Have a pre-holiday conversation about money:
It's beneficial to have a talk before so you are on the same page, especially when it comes to money. Many couples suffer from financial stress during this time and making a plan ahead of time can help minimize financial pressures. Set an agreed upon budget for gifts, holiday decor, outings -- and stick to it. It will help you feel a sense of togetherness and avoid any unwanted budget surprises or financial issues.
Plan at least one just-the-two-of-you date:
Take each other out (or plan a date night in). Don’t let it be inclusive of the holidays, that is, don’t make it a shopping-for-gifts date or decorating-the-tree date. Try going for a walk together with tea or coffee in hand to really connect. Get some fresh air while reconnecting with each other. Couples who spend more one-on-one time together report higher levels of communication, sexual satisfaction, and commitment.
Try a new couple ritual:
Think about one new ritual the two of you could repeat year-after-year that would add to your relationship. Make it something you’ll look forward to each year. It might be mastering a new ‘adult’ hot chocolate beverage recipe together after you put the kids to bed, watching a new favorite movie together, or even volunteering in your community to help those in need for an experience that will leave you both feeling good.
Schedule time for sex:
While spontaneity is often preferred, with the busy season, it's easy for sex and physical time to be forgotten. We often spend more time with family and friends and see our partner a little less during this time of year. He or she may be traveling to visit their family. It's important to prioritize intimacy if you want to make your relationship more resilient during the holiday season.
The holiday season can bring a lot of stress to any relationship. If you do any of these small things, your relationship can come out of the season a lot stronger. And, when all else fails, a quick cuddle never hurts!