A couples guide to surviving Christmas
As a counsellor in Surrey, I often find myself reflecting on the importance of maintaining relationships during the festive season. It is a time of year that can be filled with joy and togetherness, but it can also bring unique challenges for couples. How do you maintain a healthy and loving connection when the holiday rush is in full swing? Let us explore some strategies and insights to help you navigate this joyful yet challenging season with compassion and honesty.
The challenges of Christmas relationships
The holiday season can bring with it a whirlwind of emotions and stress points that can put a strain on relationships. Increased stress levels, stemming from gift shopping, event planning, lavish food buying and other responsibilities, can take its toll on relationships. Balancing the expectations of family gatherings with your personal desires and traditions can also be tricky. Past conflicts and unresolved issues may resurface, and the financial strain of holiday spending can add additional pressure. Moreover, for some, the holiday blues and feelings of loneliness can make this time of year particularly challenging.
I have heard couples say things like “Why do we have to go to your family and not mine on Christmas Day? It is clear your family do not like me so I’m not going.” Another classic comment is “Why are we spending all this money on food for one day? We are living in a time where there is a cost-of-living crisis.” Partners may respond with “So what! You only live once and I am doing it no matter what you say.” This can result in a temporary breakdown in relationships before Christmas Day even arrives. However, this may also point to the fact there are deeper issues that need to be explored with the festive period being the trigger point.
Communication strategies for a more connected Christmas
Effective communication is key to maintaining a strong bond during the holidays. Practising active listening to truly understand your partner's needs and feelings could be a good starting point. Express your own needs and desires honestly and respectfully and handle sensitive topics and disagreements with care. Setting realistic expectations as a couple and being available for quality moments of connection can go a long way in fostering understanding and harmony.
Plan Christmas together
Working together as a team to navigate the demands of the season. Jointly coordinating your holiday schedules and commitments, making thoughtful decisions about traditions and priorities. Embrace compromise and flexibility to create a holiday experience that reflects both your individual desires and your shared goals as a couple. Building new traditions can be a beautiful way to strengthen your connection.
Keep the romance alive
Maintaining the romance in your relationship during the holiday rush is possible, even though it may feel sometimes quite the opposite. Small gestures of love and appreciation can make a big difference. Rekindle the spark by spending quality time together, even amidst the hustle and bustle of family gatherings. Finding a balance between family obligations and alone time as a couple is essential for a well-rounded holiday experience.
Managing stress and self-care as a couple
Support each other in reducing stress and staying emotionally healthy. Practice self-care both individually and as a couple. Take time for downtime and relaxation together to recharge your spirits. Remember that seeking professional help and support as a couple is a sign of strength, not weakness. At David’s Counselling, I provide couples counselling to help couples overcome issues in their relationships and work towards a better future together. If you are experiencing any issues in your relationship, do not hesitate to get in touch.
This Christmas, remember that your relationship is worth prioritising. By implementing these strategies and approaches, you can keep the joy alive and navigate the challenges of Christmas together. I encourage you to invest in your relationship, communicate openly, and make meaningful memories as a couple. From my counselling practice in Surrey, I wish you a harmonious and loving holiday season.