Don’t Let Holday Expectations Ruin Your Marriage
Many people would love to have a “Hallmark” Christmas where the food and cookies are delicious, the House is decorated perfectly, and everyone gathers to meaningfully connect with family and friends. What happens when your expectations don’t mesh with reality?
Some people react with arguments and fights with family to try to make the moments into perfect ones. Other people hold it in and sulk in silence. Surely there is a healthy alternative that will allow everyone to enjoy the holidays in spite of what happens.
The truth is that more often than not, most people’s holidays have several mishaps and they cope by making back up plans and accepting what happens.
Check your expectations. Start by talking about your expectations for the holidays with your partner. Are your expectations realistic? Try to visualize the holiday. What do you and your partner picture? What are you doing together?
Are you picturing things? It is very easy to caught up in things at Christmas. The perfect decorations, cookies, and presents, etc. can require a lot of shopping, baking, and money.
Are you picturing intimate get-togethers or large family gatherings? Whatever you are picturing, you can both take time to get on the same page and decide what you want to do together. Rather than try to plan a family meal that you cook for everyone in the extended family, plan a smaller get together with each set of parents and make it a pot luck.
Bring your visions into reality. Take your perfect vision and adjust it to fit your circumstances.
In this year of COVID, many people are out of work or have had to pull in the reigns to make ends meet. Skip the expensive shopping and consider having the family make homemade decorations and gifts.
Perhaps you partner’s vision is those family traditions that his or her family always observed at Christmas. Chances are that you will not be able to recreate those exact traditions. Don’t try. Brainstorm some new traditions or a different version of traditional ones that you and your partner can create as your own.
Talking about your expectations together can help you both taper your expectations so that no one is disappointed, frustrated or angry. The key to a happy holiday is advance communication and planning.Learn more about our Couples Therapy Exercises