It should be the perfect time of year, and yet it sometimes ends in frustration, stress, and strife. The holiday season is a risky thing for relationships and domestic harmony. But why is that the case? Our expert Dr. Becky Spelman has the answers.
Speaking of relationship holiday stress: No one likes arguments during the holiday season: but quite often we find ourselves arguing or fighting. Why?
There are many reasons why people quarrel during the holiday season. First of all, we spend so much more time with our nearest and dearest than we usually do, which means that we have many more opportunities to argue!
Also, people’s expectations of what the holidays are going to be like are often unrealistic, and when their hopes for the break don’t quite materialize, they can be disappointed. Add the fact that people are likely to be drinking more heavily and eating a lot of rich, indigestion-causing food, it’s fair to say that unless careful steps are taken, you can be heading for disaster.
How important is the gift in a relationship – especially for harmony?
While some couples agree not to exchange gifts, this is the exception rather than the rule, and most people not only want to receive a gift from their loved one but want it to express something about their partner’s feelings for them. The amount of money spent is rarely an important issue here, but rather the amount of thought and care that has gone into choosing the gift.
Anonymous presents such as socks or soap rarely go down well. It’s important to find an item that makes a statement about your relationship with one another, your feelings for each other, and your shared hopes for the future.
Can you offer some suggestions for couples to help find some time to themselves over the holidays?
Couples actually need time together and time apart! As most of us need to get some exercise over the holidays, it’s a good idea to schedule activities together, such as a walk in a park, or an outing to a pool or leisure center, where couples can enjoy each other’s company and at the same time the feelgood endorphins that come from exercise and/or fresh air.
For couples in long-established relationships who live together, time spent together will be even more precious if you have also found time to be alone with your thoughts. Couples with children can call in some babysitting favors to help enjoy some quality time together—perhaps out of doors during the daytime, or on a trip to a secluded adult-friendly destination in the evening.
It might even be worth investing in something that can help you connect on an intimate level too. Couples toys have come a long way and the clearest example is the innovative We-Vibe Chorus.
The C-shaped curve of the toy might look odd, but it means it sits inside the body and stimulates both partners during penetration. Plus, these toys can be a huge relief for couples spending the holidays apart. Stay in touch with your partner by controlling their toy via the We-Connect smartphone app.
Dr, Becky Spelman is a leading UK psychologist. She works with couples and individuals to help them find more happiness in their lives.