The holidays are a time of joy, but they can also become a time of intense stress, and if we aren’t careful, that stress can rub off on our loved ones. While I always expect to be feeling the love during the holiday season, the truth is, my significant other is often the first one to fall by the wayside in all the hustle and bustle.
It’s hard to keep your relationship a top priority when there are so many other things competing for your attention — whether it’s parties with friends and colleagues or gift giving-stress. Here are a few tips to keep your relationship strong through the holidays.
1. Communicate your needs
While my husband may love tearing up the dance floor at his employee Christmas party, I feel super awkward being around people I don’t know well. I’m down to stay for the buffet, but once I have stuffed myself like a holiday bird, I’m ready to head home soon after. When we compromise to include a drink after dinner and a certain number of songs, we can both go home happy instead of resenting one another.
When you and your partner are headed off to holiday parties or visiting family, make sure you communicate your needs and expectations beforehand. Especially if one of you is an introvert and the other is more social, it’s good to talk out how you feel about the activities ahead. If you want to party all night and your partner wants to go home and decompress as soon as possible, you are both going to run into some issues. However, if you are upfront about your needs, it will not only make your night better, but will strengthen your relationship in the long run.
2. Carve out some alone time
While I’m usually not the most social butterfly, the holidays are an exception for me. I fill my calendar to the brim with errands, coffee dates, holiday parties, visits with family, Christmas shopping, and more. Sometimes, this leaves very little time for me to connect with my partner the way I normally would when I stay home a minimum six nights a week.
Carving out some time in your calendar to spend together is crucial to keeping your bond strong during the holidays. You don’t have to plan a fancy date night. In fact, sitting on the couch, watching a movie, and checking in with one another emotionally is probably a whole lot better than vying for a table at your favorite restaurant during the holiday craze.
3. Let love guide you
When I was in the early stages of my relationship, the holidays were the time when my insecurities blossomed. I wanted his family to like me, and I overanalyzed every interaction, instead of simply accepting the love they were so generously directing my way.
The holidays usually come with a lot of family interaction. Whether this is your first time meeting your partner’s relatives, or you already feel like part of the family, make sure you let love guide your actions while treading through this delicate territory. You may be feeling extra self-conscious and sensitive, but assuming the best intentions of those around you is important when you’re building family relationships.