Experiencing stressful situations during the holidays can happen in even the best relationships. We have all seen it—the grandest of holiday plans come crumbling down when the inevitable holiday calamities begin to happen.
Stress, stress, stress!!! Holidays are among the most stressful times in a relationship, make no mistake about it. But stress doesn't have to happen.
Here are five ways you and your spouse can lower your stress level and have a more relaxed holiday season:
1. Take extra special care of yourself and your spouse. Get enough sleep, take your vitamins, eat healthy and exercise to increase your ability to handle the stressful situations that always occur during the holidays. Eliminate your useless worry about things that will never happen. The holiday does not have to be perfect! The relationships built are more important than holiday perfection.
2. Money is not the solution to a great holiday season—especially in these tough economic times. Rather, it is the simple things that matter—simple acts of kindness, homemade gifts and cards, simple expressions of love. Take a moment in the midst of the chaos and pressure of the holidays to focus on the important things in life. Give your spouse respect, understanding, your embrace, your kiss and your time.
3. Appreciate the traditions within your family and your spouse's family. Blend them together in a way that both you and your spouse will cherish as you make new memories together. Don't feel compelled to follow the exact same traditions of one family over the other without a full discussion of what you both want as you build your traditions together. Talk about what you are going to do for the season: what are you and your spouse's highest priorities? Have this conversation as soon as possible so you can eliminate all the stuff that doesn't matter.
4. When holiday problems arise—as they always do—talk about them openly rather than blaming or wallowing in self pity. Discussions about serious matters must always begin with agreement about what the issues really are. Work to identify the issue, establish the parameters of the discussion, and agree to solve the problem together. Blaming and wallowing in self-pity are wasted emotions.
5. As the stress rises, so does the opportunity for argument and disagreement. When the holiday tension is so thick that you could cut it with a knife, it is easy to let nasty statements and sharp words roll off your tongue, making judgmental statements about your spouse, their actions, and their relatives. Think twice before exploding with vitriolic words that cannot be taken back.
Our final thought for the holidays is this—no love has blossomed or been sustained without doing the simple things. Focusing on the simple things during the holidays will go a long way towards making it a stress free holiday season for you and your family.
Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts.
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By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts
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