How to protect your relationship over the Christmas Holiday

Christmas is a magical time. It’s an occasion for celebration and harmonious gatherings. It’s a time for love, laughter, and togetherness, with beautifully wrapped gifts under the festive tree, and scrumptious food at the table.  


But is Christmas really all of this? That might be the expectation, but for many, sadly it’s not the reality.  

Christmas can put a lot of strain on relationships. Finances can be stretched, and structures and routines are out of sync with the Christmas activities that divert away from normal day-to-day life. Chaos adds to the dynamic, with so much to do and conflicts between different expectations and family traditions come to the surface, adding further pressures. Couples who are already experiencing difficulties in their relationship, tend to get a harsh reminder of the cracks in their partnership. 

If you want to survive your relationship over the Christmas holidays, here are some top tips to help you keep on track and keep arguments at bay.

1. Preparation

Think about your intentions for Christmas and set aside time to talk calmly about what you both want. Remember, you might have differences here, so recognise them and be considerate of each other’s needs and wants. 

2. Set a financial budget and stick to it

Be realistic. Look at what you can afford to spend overall and plan out how much of this will go towards food, gifts, drink, decorations, etc. If you’re struggling, be honest with yourselves, your friends, and your family about scaling back. 

3. Share your appreciation

Recognise your partner may be stressed too, so be nice. Rather than focusing on what they do that annoys you, move your attention to what you love and appreciate about them and tell them …. every day!

4. Keep things in perspective

Choose your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff. Ask yourself ‘Where is this issue on a scale of one to 10?’ and ‘How important will this be in six months?’ If it’s minimal, choose to let it go.

5. Bring your relationship into a conscious relationship

Do things consciously that will benefit your relationship and move it up your priority list. Make time for each other, be intimate, have fun, be romantic and surprise each other.

6. Talk about difficult things, without blame, shame, or criticism

In Imago we call this Zero Negativity. If you want to be heard by your partner, then drop the criticism. They will be too busy planning their attack back to listen to you. Talk about yourself rather than them. Talk about your own hurts, fears, reactions, and desires.

7.  Learn Imago Dialogue

I love Imago Dialogue. The shift I see in couples when they use it in their therapy sessions is huge. It’s a unique and powerful communication tool. It really helps each individual in the relationship to be really heard, validated, and empathised with. It helps to understand that your partner's reality is just as valid as yours and therefore assists in working towards a place of mutual acceptance. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
St Annes on Sea, Lancashire, FY8 1PE
Written by Vicky Ashraf, Dip.Couns. MBACP (Accred) Wellbeing Counselling & Coaching
St Annes on Sea, Lancashire, FY8 1PE

Vicky is a BACP accredited Counsellor, Certified Imago Couples Therapist & Clinical Supervisor.
She has been a therapist for over 12 years, working with individuals and couples throughout the UK. Vicky has a particular passion for working with couples and is the only Certified Imago Couples Therapist in Lancashire. She works face-to-face and online

Show comments

Find a therapist dealing with Relationship problems

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals