Tis the season to be jolly?
There’s a reason January is the divorce month. Here are ways to stay connected with your spouse through the holiday season in spite of the stress.
No one can deny that December is one of the most stressful months of the year. The increased crowds at the mall, the pressure to complete end of the year projects at work, the beginning of the cold winter weather and not to mention figuring out what to do with your kids over the school break, all contribute to making this time of the year particularly overwhelming.
But what happens when this stress starts affecting your marriage and your relationship with your partner? Many couples find that they are more irritable and communicate less with their spouse when they are under a great deal of stress. This can cause partners to feel resentment and become more withdrawn from each other.
So, as you make your way through this stressful time of the year, what can you do to stay connected with your spouse and give your marriage a healthy boost over the holidays?
A breakdown in communication is normal when you feel like you are being pulled in every direction. A significant contributor to maintaining a healthy relationship with your spouse is making the time to check in with each other on a regular basis. It is important to devote time every day to discuss mundane topics (kids schedules, work commitments, household chores) as well as some deeper issues (mood, relationship, finances). Taking the time to communicate can not only reduce resentment and irritability but can also strengthen your marriage and even promote positive individual mental health.
With your schedule filling up with holiday parties and kids activities, it is especially challenging to find the time to go out on a date night. Even so, it is so important to continue to prioritize date nights and reconnect as a couple separate from your children, work and other commitments. It’s an opportunity to go out, have some fun and reignite some romance. Try and mix it up. See a play, go to a concert or check out the market. There are so many options this time of the year. So if you can, book that babysitter as soon as possible!
It is incredibly common for couples to use the excuse that they don’t have enough time or energy to maintain intimacy in their relationship. This can be upsetting to a lot of partners who are yearning to increase connection in their marriage. Similarly with communication and date nights, it is imperative that in order to maintain both sexual and non-sexual intimacy in a marriage it is important to schedule these moments. It may not sound very romantic but many couples feel that if it is no scheduled then it will not happen. Holding hands, saying I love you, kissing, hugging and just consciously being together are all important ways of maintaining intimacy in your marriage.
Take Time For Yourself
It may sound counterintuitive but taking time for yourself can positively impact your marriage. Just think, being exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed can make it that much more difficult to communicate and stay connected with your partner. If both individuals are able to take time to recharge themselves physically and emotionally they will be able to put more energy into maintaining a healthy marriage. Give each other permission to go to the gym, meet up with friends or sleep in for the benefit of your relationship.
Wishing you lots of health, happiness and peace over the holidays and in the new year!
Lindsay Ross (MSW RSW) is a registered social worker who provides psychotherapy and counselling to individuals, families and couples. With an emphasis on high-quality, evidence-based therapy, Lindsay works with adolescents and adults who are struggling with issues associated with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, pregnancy/postpartum issues, parenting and communication. In collaboration with her advanced training and certification in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Narrative Therapy and Family Based Therapy for the treatment of pediatric eating disorders, Lindsay uses her extensive experience and expertise to integrate different therapeutic approaches to support and work with the unique needs of her clients.