Looks like you may want to spend a little extra time under the mistletoe this holiday season.
According to an article on Time, the holidays aren’t just a time for goodwill and peace towards men — but a time of some serious testing of your relationship.
The article on Time reads,
“The anecdotal evidence is strong that the end-of-year holidays are a dangerous time for less-solid relationships and marriages. In January, divorce lawyers’ phones start ringing fast and furious, says family law attorney Lynne Gold-Bikin.”
Ouch. So why the sudden departure from “Season’s Greetings” to season’s divorce lawyers?
Apparently, it all comes down to the stress and breakdown of communication that can result over the holidays — especially for struggling couples or couples who are in a new relationship.
The holidays are a time rife with stress for couples, like Jackie pointed out in his story about the first holiday with the in-laws. Interestingly enough, aside from the stress of shopping, financial strains, meeting new family members, or just being around family members that you don’t normally see, there is the stress that deflated expectations can bring. In other words, thanks to Pinterest and our expectations of the picture-perfect holiday season, when the holidays deteriorate into a booze-fueled family feud, or the kids all get sick, or your new partner gets you the worst present ever, things tend to go downhill.
(The article notes that, not surprisingly, there is also a huge surge in breakups after Valentine’s Day as well for the same reason. Which I totally get. Remind me to tell you the story of the time I spent hours preparing for our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple…and the surprise I got from my husband).
I have to say that even as an “old” married couple — we’ve been together 10 years and going on six years of marriage — I can totally understand how the holidays may test a stressed or burgeoning relationship. To this day, I am sometimes still amazed at how different my husband and I can act around our respective families. There’s just something about being around your siblings that makes you regress about oh, say fifteen years.
But there is hope in this holiday love triangle.
The key to surviving the holidays with your relationship intact is actually pretty simple:
Keep the commitments to a minimum, cultivate some holiday traditions that focus on you as a couple, and keep expectations low. Not in a glass-half-empty kind of way, of course, but in a way that won’t have you cruising for a break-up if the ham gets burned or he doesn’t realize that “no gifts” really ever means “no gifts.”
Image via Adam Swank/Flickr