5 Ways to Survive the Holidays With Your Marriage And Mind Intact

By

5 Ways to Survive the Holidays With Your Marriage And Mind Intact
Happy holidays can become stressful but avoid the gloom with these five tips.

The holidays are held out as a time of warmth, love, and family togetherness. But they can also be stressful. Pressure to get the right gifts, spend the right amount of time with the right people, attend all possible festivities, and do it all with never-ending joy and holiday spirit. These expectations and associated guilt can take its toll.

There is a way to enjoy the holidays and take care of yourself and your marriage at the same time. While it's best to decide where you'll be spending the holidays by Labor Day, there's still time. It takes a little talking and some extra planning but, if you and your spouse make the effort, you can turn this, and every future holiday season, from naughty to nice. Read on for five tips that will help you have a great holiday season!

1. Address Past Holiday Upsets
Sit down with your partner and identify what problems have occurred in the past. Try to be as clear and specific as possible.  Pay close attention to who is involved as well as what is happening in the environment. Then, take a good look at how your behavior plays into the pattern. Identify how you have behaved in response to the situation in the past and develop a different, more productive, approach.

2. Feel What You Feel And Then Find A Way To Let It Go
One of the hardest parts of the holidays is the assumption that everyone should always be happy. If you feel forced into a certain emotional response, resentment will build and ruin your holidays. Take the time to acknowledge your emotions and then decide if you want to let that feeling define your day. If not, sit with the feeling for about five minutes and then let it go.  Choose a feeling that is in keeping with how you want to be that day.

3. Focus On Your Family 
Make sure you are taking time each day to do something just with your partner and/or your children.  Take a walk, go to a movie, or take an after meal “nap” to get away from constant togetherness.  Offer to cook a meal and then escape to the grocery store.  This is a great way to introduce some of your traditions and give you a break at the same time.

4. Have A Routine
Stay on your schedule as much as possible. Make time to exercise. Maintain your approach to diet and alcohol intake. Your body is out of its routine, so don't confuse it more by excess. Moderation is the key to feeling well so maintain your sleep patterns. Staying up or getting up later than usual leaves you susceptible to mood swings and lack of patience. Helping your children maintain a routine will help them maintain control and be a tremendous gift to you and your partner.

5. Be Proactive 
Take ownership of your holidays and have an alternative plan. The holiday police may want to rule your life, but that can only happen if you let them. If the only way to ensure peace and harmony in your relationship is to stay in a hotel, or shorten the visit by a couple of days, do it. Maintaining the long term health of your relationship is the best gift you can give or receive at the holidays.

Not so hard, right? By being prepared, you can have the happy holidays and merry marriage you seek! 

If you want to know if your relationship is all it can be, get your FREE Relationship Consultation and discover what you can do to make it great.

More relationship coach advice on YourTango:

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Lesli Doares

Relationship Coach

Lesli Doares, MFT

Lesli writes about issues related to marriage and relationships at afearlessmarriage.com.  She is the author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage:  How to Create Your Happily Ever After with More Intention, Less Work, a manual for couples on how to have a long and successful marriage.  Lesli also speaks passionately on many relationship-related topics.

Location: Cary, NC
Credentials: LMFT
Other Articles/News by Lesli Doares:

Why I Didn't Realize My Relationship Was Emotionally Abusive

By

Never is there physical abuse without emotional abuse, but unfortunately the reverse isn't always true. During my first job as a therapist with a domestic violence organization, more than one of my clients said that they actually prefer the physical violence to the emotional violence, because at least physical bruises heal. Of course, it is more difficult ... Read more

What Can The Future Mrs. Clooney Teach Us About Marriage?

By

There are two stories in the news these days that say a lot about relationships and women's role in them. The first is the big news that perennial bachelor George Clooney is engaged. Now, engaged is not married, so he is still a bachelor and anything can happen. But it has raised the question, why her? Why now? What does she have that all his other former ... Read more

What You Need To Know About Open Marriages

By

I have always taken the position that marriage is for grown-ups. It takes a lot of maturity to successfully navigate all the changes involved in building a life with someone who has an equal say in what that life looks like. Having to take someone else's wants, needs and desires into account when you are used to only thinking about yourself is, in my ... Read more

See More

GET MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS IN YOUR INBOX!

Sign up for our daily email and get the stories everyone is talking about.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

FROM AROUND THE WEB