The holidays are typically busy with get-togethers, gifts, good meals, and shopping, all things fun! While these are great, relationships can take a ‘hit’ during the season. One-on-one relationships are often neglected as we become consumed with buying the 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 lawyer’s phones ringing off the hook in January—suggest that couples experience more conflict during the holiday season (Russo).
Have a pre-holiday conversation about money and your priorities: 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 each other 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 night in) and don’t let it be inclusive of the holidays, that is, don’t make it a shopping date. Try going for a walk together with tea or coffee in hand to really connect. Get fresh air while reconnecting with each other. Couples who spend more 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 recipe together after you put kids to bed, watching a favorite movie together every holiday, or volunteering in your community to help those that are less fortunate.
Schedule time for sex: With the busy season, it's easy for sex to get pushed to the side. 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 visiting their family. It's important to keep prioritizing 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.