Making Merry with our Partner during the Holidays

The winter holidays can be hectic and if we don’t do some simple planning, conflict can creep into our relationships. We can feel pulled in many different directions. We need to make time to enjoy the time with our partners. Managing our time and people’s expectations becomes key during this month. There are a lot of activities going on and we may feel stressed at meeting other’s expectations. The best way to combat this is to make sure that we have some planned events in mind for ourselves and our partners.   

We also need to encourage some spontaneity. Filling our schedule with planned events will cause anxiety as we race to meet our self-imposed schedules. 

Pick an event that both of you will look forward to doing together. It could be a concert, a play, a dinner, a party, anything that makes you both really want to be there together. This become an anchor in your schedule; something that you can anticipate no matter what happens with the rest of your schedule. It’s important to have something you really look forward to doing. It becomes a motivation to get through the moments that are difficult. When you both know that this event is coming up, you’ll be able to sit through one more 3rd grade performance of “The Nutcracker”! 

Each of you should also pick an activity that you really wish to do, but it may not be what the other “clicks” with. For instance, one of you may prefer to see a movie while the other may prefer a concert.  Treat this as a gift you are giving to your partner; and receive this as a gift, too. Again, the important thing is that you will be together.  The “gift” is that your partner is giving you their time to do something they know you truly like, even though it might not be their “thing”. 

Now for the truly creative and fun part of this month’s activities! 

Pepper the month with spontaneity! Go out of the way to do some things out of the ordinary! 

Call your partner and offer to meet them at their workplace with lunch. Go for a walk with them to hear carolers. Go see a local theater Christmas play. The goal here is to do something totally unplanned with your partner. It doesn’t have to be a lavish or expensive activity. In fact, less is more here! 

Doing something small and spontaneous with your partner opens you both up to more opportunities to learn about each other and to enjoy each other’s company in an unfamiliar setting. If spontaneity is a challenge for you, then start out by scheduling something spontaneous! 

Both of you pick a time and agree that you will do something together then. What that is, you won’t know until that time. So, if you picked 2:00pm on a Saturday afternoon, at 1:00pm or so, pick up the local paper or go online and find something to do.

Go with your gut instinct and pick the first thing that “feels” right. If you spend too much time thinking about it, you probably will waste the afternoon debating on what to do. The chances are that whatever you choose to do will be fun because you will be doing it with your partner. And the more times you practice this together, the more you will discover that there are hundreds of simple things you can do together and have a great time! 

The way to keep from feeling out of control during the holidays is to manage your time, schedule some fun things for you and your partner to do together, and keep time open for doing some things that just come up “out of the blue”!

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