5 Ways to Holiday-Proof Your Relationship

5 Ways to Holiday-Proof Your Relationship

Great tips to keep your partnership strong during the most stressful time of the year.

By: Leah Maxwell

My favorite winter accessories are cozy scarves, cable-knit mittens, brightly colored hats, and a brown paper bag to breathe into when I start feeling overwhelmed by end-of-the-year craziness. If the holiday months put the squeeze on you, here are five ways to keep it from squeezing out your main squeeze.

1. Keep a shared calendar. Whether you write down social commitments on an old-school wall calendar or add them to the e-calendar that syncs with your phones, making sure that both partners are aware of the master plan will go a long way toward minimizing scheduling mix-ups, like accepting two party invitations for the same night.

2. Plan a budget. Or several, for things like gifts, travel, and entertaining. Get the money discussions out of the way early so you can spend it with an open heart and a clear conscience (and have funds leftover to surprise each other!).

3. Prepare to compromise. When every area of your life is feeling the crunch, compromise is inevitable. Accepting the idea that tough decisions lie ahead can make it easier to work through them together with kindness and generosity.

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4. Make time to (re)connect. In the flurry of parties, performances, and errands, it’s important to take time out as a couple. Put the kids to bed, shut down your devices, and enjoy a low-key evening sipping hot chocolate in front of the fire, or go for a drive with the radio off and your listening ears on. Even if you don’t leave the house, make it an official date (put it on your shared calendar!) so it doesn’t get steamrolled by other commitments.


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5. Remember what’s important. It’s easy to get sucked into the competitive aspect of the holiday season -- who found the perfect table linens for Thanksgiving dinner? Who will win the award for Best Painstakingly Handmade Gift? But try, try, try to not lose sight of the larger point. When conflicts arise or the stress is threatening to pull you under, take a deep breath (from your paper bag) and remind yourself, and each other, that it’s the people you care about who are the most important -- your friends, your family, and the person sitting by your side, who’s seen you at your worst and deserves only the best.

How do you keep end-of-the-year chaos from dragging down your relationship?

Leah Maxwell is a book editor, freelance writer, cereal addict, wife, and mom to two young boys. She has been blogging at A Girl and a Boy since 2003.

Image ©iStock.com/AleksandarNakic

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