People often find that tensions in their couple or family relationships can really come to a head during and after the Christmas holidays.
Sometimes spending lots of time together without any distractions – away from the daily pressures of work or taking the kids to and from school - can mean you find yourself confronting issues you’re usually able to avoid.
This can be compounded by having really high holiday expectations – hoping for a chance to finally spend some quality time together – which can leave you feeling frustrated when they aren’t met.
But spending time together doesn’t need to push you apart. You might like to think about the following:
- Reflect on what’s causing the tension. Arguments are often rooted in some issue that we’re having trouble dealing with. Are there any underlying problems in your relationship that you’re avoiding talking about?
- Talk about it. The best way to get to the bottom of a problem is to talk openly and honestly about it. Find a time when you’re not both already feeling emotional (not when you’re already arguing, for instance) and give the conversation the time and attention it deserves.
- Family time. Children pick up on more than we realise, and it’s important to see how they’re getting on, especially if there have been arguments over the holidays.
- Time away. If your house is full or you are staying with other people, plan for the two of you to spend some quality time together as often as possible. That might be with 'an early night', a stroll to the park, a midnight feast, an early morning start, or any other way to 'escape' children, family and/or friends (however much you love them!). It'll help to 'anchor' you and your relationship and give you time to discuss and problem-solve any potential issues.
Whatever your Christmas looks like, reflect on what you would like to get from that time, whether it’s a cool and controlled Christmas dinner or a family frenzy of wrapping paper, plan and aim for your goal and set those expectations with others as well as yourself.
If you are worried about your relationships over Christmas, or want to know more information in general visit the Relate website on https://www.relate.org.uk/