During the holiday season—replete with travel, family visits, extra spending, and the pressure to feel jolly and filled with good cheer—even the happiest and most high-functioning couples can experience challenges.
It’s important to acknowledge that relationships are always a work in progress—and that can be especially true at the most wonderful time of the year.
Here are six ways you can nurture your relationship during the holidays (and pssst…really every day!)
Make it a priority.
Typically, most of us give our best energy to our work or our kids, and the relationship gets the scraps. During the holiday season, prioritizing your relationship may be especially difficult, but it’s important not to lose sight of one another.
Be especially mindful not to neglect your partner during family events. It’s easy to take each other for granted when there are others desiring your attention who you may have little contact with the rest of the year.
Check in daily.
Daily check-ins might feel like a tall order during the holidays, when to-do lists are longer than ever, but I maintain that taking the time to connect with your partner in a meaningful way, every day, is well worth the effort.
Find a way to check in that fits who you are as a couple—it might be cuddling, or walking the dog, or having morning coffee together and chatting about the day ahead. These things can really build that bond of connection.
Honor your differences.
Navigating differences is part and parcel of all relationships, but differences can show themselves more acutely at holiday time. More frugal partners may want to put a cap on gift shopping sooner than more lavish spenders. Extroverted partners might be psyched to attend every party (Lol that’s me!), while introverted ones feel overextended (that’s my hubby).
Stress levels can be higher during the holidays not only because we have more to do, but also because of the family dynamics that come into play. Visits with in-laws can cause tension. Differences in parenting styles can, too. When partners express dissatisfaction with one another, sparks can fly.
To become better at listening non-reactively, I suggest closing your mouth and putting yourself in your partner’s shoes.
Stop and ask yourself, “what is it that I felt just then?” When I work with couples,I try to help them get underneath what’s going on, to have them become more mindful of their experience and how they react.
Ask your partner, “How may I best love you?”
People tend to give love the way they want to be loved, but what lights one person up can be a turnoff to another. The juiciest question you can ask your partner is, “How may I best love you?”
In the season of gift-giving, consider what will make your partner feel most loved. A piece of jewelry or the latest high-tech gadget? A massage after holiday shopping? A getaway weekend for just the two of you? Cleaning the house before the guests come? Or a card with a love letter inside?
People who are accomplished in relationships, live with curiosity and wonder. They’re generous about stretching into their partners’ worlds.
Help your partner achieve a dream.
We all have these secret dreams that we fear we’ll never actualize in our lives, but if we have someone who helps us manifest our loftiest dreams, that’s a good contract.
As a holiday ritual (or anytime), I recommend that couples write down their individual visions for a fabulous life, letting their imaginations run wild.
When couples become each other’s “believing eyes”—believing in each other’s strength, energy, and talent to manifest a deep desire—it brings you closer together.
Cheers to a wonderful 2021 Holiday Season!
We sure do have much to celebrate!!