6 Ways to Holiday-Proof Your Relationship

The hustle and the bustle of the holiday season are upon us. It’s not an easy time even for folks in perfectly happy relationships, much less anyone who feels tension or is struggling with a significant other. Here are 6 ways to reduce holiday stress.

The sources of tension and struggles can vary widely, and many are actually naturally occurring in the course of a long-term relationship (see our article “Happily Ever After”).

But what happens when natural struggles are coupled with additional pressures? How can you lessen the chance that things will go awry in already stressful holiday situations?

We’ve pulled together a few tips so that you can prepare your relationship for the holidays.

  1. Plan three little surprises for your significant other. This could be slipping a quick sweet note into their purse or bag, taking on a chore that the other usually does, or giving an impromptu backrub. Create good karma in advance of the tougher moments.
  2. If you’re in a tiff with your partner, don’t try to resolve it by text. A recent BYU study found this to result in dissatisfaction on both sides. Find agreeable times to talk live, and ban any judgment.
  3. Have a weekly check in time with your partner to purposefully plan activities, make decisions about who is responsible for which tasks, and anticipate scheduling issues for the coming week.
  4. Some arguments just don’t need to happen. For the evenings when holiday programming competes with reality shows compete with football… Tivo has a new Roamio DVR product that records 6 shows at a time. (And you can stream on digital devices!). Opt for shows that allow the family to watch together and save your individual favorites for later.
  5. The holidays are a real time- and money-cruncher. If you’re in therapy right now – make sure you’re getting everything you can out of it. In your therapy, work smarter, not harder, with these tips from one of our Couples Institute therapists.
  6. In a restaurant, you expect the server to bring you water, perhaps bread, and then to take your order. Do you expect your relationship to work the same way? Or can you turn lofty expectations into ‘desires’ and work with your partner to achieve them?

Remember, you’re not alone. We all hit hard times and struggles with our partners. What makes the difference is addressing the struggles and staying on track.

This week we’re thankful that you are in this community of couples and partners striving to be the best couple or partner that you can be.

With best wishes for the start of your holiday season,
Pete and Ellyn

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Peter Pearson, Ph.D.

Dr. Peter Pearson, Ph.D., Relationship & Teamwork Expert for Entrepreneur Couples Pete has been training and coaching couples to become a strong team since 1984 when he co-founded The Couples Institute with his psychologist wife, Dr. Ellyn Bader. Their popular book, “Tell Me No Lies,” is about being honest with compassion and growing stronger as a couple. Pete has been featured on over 50 radio and television programs including “The Today Show,” "Good Morning America,” and "CBS Early Morning News,” and quoted in major publications including “The New York Times,” “Oprah Magazine,” “Redbook,” “Cosmopolitan,” and “Business Insider.”

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