- Ray St-Amour
Surviving The Holidays - Part 1
In my last blog, we discussed positive and negative “bids”. This concept is crucial to today’s topic: How to survive the holidays.
Couples often find holidays a difficult time. It is a stressful time where there is constant negotiation about whose family to visit when and for how long. If you are lucky enough to have out of town relatives staying at your house the stress multiplies. In my private practice in-laws are often a source of conflict or distress in the couple’s relationship.
Discuss plans of visits with relatives early in the season. Take time when you can focus on each over with no disruptions to discuss the various relatives that you will engage with and out in some boundaries. This could go, for example: “ your aunt Mary is fine in small doses but when she starts talking about her illnesses I quickly get overwhelmed and want to bolt out the room. I need your support.” This would be a good time to give a positive bid such as “ of course I will be there to support you. What would you need me to do?” A negative bid would be to raise your shoulders and say nothing. Your partner would then feel unsupported.
Agree on important issues. Listen to your partner and negotiate if you cannot agree. For example:” I can’t stand your uncle Bob but since he is important to you we will drop in for only one hour at his open house next week”.
Listen to each other about what us really important and how you can work through it as a couple. Finances are often a source of conflict. Again, an open and frank discussion in regards to the holiday budget can eliminate future headaches and anxiety when the Visa bill arrives. If you can figure out a budget prior to spending money for the holidays, you will be rewarded by a stress free after holiday period.
Stay tuned for part 2 of How to survive the holidays...