Portland Marriage Therapist: How to Avoid Holiday Stresses on Your Relationship

November 27, 2013 by

You might not think that the holidays would be a common time for couples to seek relationship help from a Portland marriage therapist. After all, it’s a time of year when people are supposed to be taking vacations, spending time with their families, and indulging in delicious seasonal food. However, there are also plenty of holiday-related factors that can put stress on a relationship—including deciding whose family to visit, putting in extra work hours before a vacation, and becoming exhausted just from preparing for big holiday events.

When you’re struggling with holiday stress, it can become all too easy to lash out at your partner—or to become distant and avoid talking about your problems. Here are some ideas for how you and your partner can cope with stress in healthier ways.

Relationship Help for Holiday Stress from the Portland Marriage Therapist

Discuss your financial situation. One of the biggest stressors during the holidays is money. Between buying gifts for everyone on your list and booking plane tickets to visit far-flung family members, November and December can put a strain on your finances. Make sure that you and your partner have an open and honest discussion about your financial situation and come up with a holiday budget so you both know what you can reasonably afford this year.

Discuss your family plan. If you and your partner have families that live in different cities or even a different state, deciding who you are going to visit for the holidays can become a point of contention. Some couples are lucky enough to be able to visit both their families, but if that isn’t possible due to finances, geographical logistics, or any other reason, you and your partner should have a discussion well in advance about what you’re going to do this year. Maybe one of your families can visit you for Thanksgiving and you can travel to the other family for Christmas, or you can trade off each year on whose family you visit. You and your partner should discuss what you both want but also be prepared to make some compromises.

Set aside time for yourselves. With all the bustle of the holidays, it can be easy to push your relationship to the sidelines temporarily. However, as a Portland marriage therapist, I always encourage couples to make sure they carve out time for each other even when their lives are particularly busy. Making time to go out to dinner or watch a movie with just the two of you can provide you both with a much-need breather and help you refocus attention on your relationship.

Don’t be afraid to ask for relationship help. If the holidays are a particularly overwhelming time for you and your partner, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. A Portland marriage therapist would be glad to meet with you and your partner to help you work through anything that’s stressing you out.