‘Tis the season, amiright ya’ll?! We are in full holiday swing, folks! It’s exciting, I know, but there are some things to remain mindful of amid all the excitement and chaos, including our relationships. As a follow up to a segment I did for The Honest Weigh, see below for ways to boost the connection within your romantic partnership during the holidays. Enjoy!
- Take stock. Look at all the events and commitments you’ve participated in within the last couple of years. What can you let go of doing what only serves to add stress and strain? What traditions are most important to you that you’d like to preserve? Go over this with your partner, along with their list of “let go’s” and “keeps”, so that you can create your very own holiday world together. Trust me, this feels much better than having traditions imposed on you and the relationship. Maybe certain events just need a little tweak. For example, do you host a big get together (or several of them)? Perhaps, you could alternate hosting duties with other participants or shift to a potluck style event, rather than being solely responsible for all food and beverage.
- Discuss expectations. Sit down and write out your expectations for the season. This includes what events you’d like to attend, how much time you plan to take off from work, when you’d like to decorate, etc…Then have a meeting with your partner. Where are you all off base, where are the opportunities for compromise? This is where you all make your plan of attack, so to speak.
- Perform frequent check ins. ASK, and ask often, where your partner is mentally and emotionally. How are they doing? Are you all straying from your plan in such a way that’s causing discomfort for your partner? There is a certain amount of flexibility that will need to occur in any relationship, but trying to keep it “fair” (i.e. one partner is not doing the majority of the compromising at all times) is the name of the game, especially during this potentially vulnerable time.
- Have an “escape” plan if it’s not going well at an event. This is where your pre-planning is going to come in handy. Communicating with each other, especially prior to potentially stressful events, to come up with your “out” if your relationship is suffering due to a commitment is crucial.
- Attack the holiday season like a team! If you’re not on the same page, get on the same page. Develop a relationship mantra to carry you through the challenging times and to refocus you both when you find yourselves off track. A mantra is a great way to “reset” and pull out of negative thoughts and patterns. A couple of examples might include, “always with respect” or “GO TEAM (enter last name or your celebrity relationship name here)!”
- Set boundaries for the relationship. If something you have committed to, or are wrestling with committing to, is simply too challenging or detrimental to the relationship, I’ve got a secret — you don’t usually have to commit to this challenging detrimental thing. Whether it’s a party or a school function, you have the power within your relationship to make this call for the relationship.
- Schedule time for the relationship. Holidays are often a time for larger groups to get together. It’s important to prioritize the couple and make time for one-on-one outings or time at home together.
- Hit the love language of your partner HARD. The holiday season, ripe with all its potential stressors, can be an extra vulnerable time for your partner. So, if they feel most loved and attended to when you express words of affirmation to them – do this. If they feel most loved when you make their coffee in the morning – do this. If they feel most loved when you prioritize time with them – do this. You get the idea! This will start you all off at a lower level of stress and strain if, at the bare minimum, your partner feels as though you love him/her. If you don’t know what your partner’s (or your own) love language is go here: https://m2mbatesville.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/lovelanguagetest.pdf