Christmas is around the corner and the holidays are almost upon us. For many couples, this is often a time when tensions run high.
If you’re already heading for a fall-out before the Turkey’s stuffed and the ham is glazed, then it might be time to take a deep breath and press re-set, so you are ready to head into the holiday as a team, not two raging generals of enemy armies.
“Christmas is a time of coming together for families which can be wonderful but it is also a time when we spend more time than ever with our nearest and dearest and tensions can arise,” says leading psychotherapist and relationship expert, Melissa Ferrari.
The key, says Melissa is teamwork. Here Melissa shares her top 4 tips to a peaceful holiday period this season.
1. Rally The Troops Sit down with your partner and map out your Christmas together. Discuss the plans, allocate tasks and agree on all of the details ahead of time.
Put the ‘to do’ list on the fridge or in a prominent place, so everybody knows their role and deadline.
With a game plan in place, there are no doubts as to who is doing what when and it will help avoid any confusion or communication breakdown, which is often the cause of many arguments.
2. Kid Time – If you have kids, then you know the trigger spots they tend to have. Perhaps it is around presents (who gets what); attention, if mum is busy in the kitchen, for example; or general over excitement and tiredness (especially for younger children who are often up on Christmas Day at the crack of dawn).
Have a plan in place, for example, pre-agree to schedule in a nap time or ‘quiet time’ for younger children. Have dad or a family member play a quiet game, or even a change of scene with a game in the garden or a walk to the beach or park.
Having a ‘melt-down’ strategy will avoid a family argument, and it keeps mum and dad strong in their ‘couple bubble’ which is something Dr. Stan Tatkin talks about in his book, ‘Wired for Love’ and in his therapy work generally.
This psychobiological approach to couple approach to couple therapy (PACT) is a fundamental part of my practice, and it has been proven time and time again to help couples feel safe and connected even in times of stress by staying together and working as a team.
3. Down Time Even the closest of couples need time apart, but during the holiday period, you are often thrown together with an endless round of tasks and trips.
Make sure you each take the time you need for yourself to refresh. Everybody has different needs, and so it’s important to acknowledge and discuss this with your partner before the holiday.
For example, one person might need some quiet time with a cup of tea and a magazine or book, while another may need to get out of the house for a walk and fresh air.
Give your partner what they need, and they will be happy to return the favor. In doing this, you can diffuse so many arguments that often arise when one person is seen to be shirking tasks but actually what they are doing is taking what they need so they can give back to the other partner or family.
4. Say Thanks It may sound like a small thing but saying thank you to your partner, can be such a positive sign of love and appreciation.
‘Thank you’ can show you noticed something they did, it makes them feel acknowledged and noticed. It also feels good to say thank you rather than ignoring it or going for a gripe or a criticism instead.
Feature Image: Shutterstock.com
In-Post Image: Shutterstock.com