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Relationship counselors report an increase in couples seeking their services following the holiday season. One reason for this is that many people expect that more time together might renew their love and solve all their problems. Spending so much time together can instead amplify the cracks that have already appeared in your relationship. The holidays may be a healing period, but there is also often no way to escape.

1. Work as a team

Planning ahead and working together, rather than it all being left to one person can make life easier. In that way one person doesn’t end up feeling exhausted, resentful and snappy.

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2. Have a conversation.

What are some stressors that you anticipate? Making little room for surprises is essential for having a stress-free holiday season. There is a real danger of overspending during the festive period. Expensive presents do not equal a stronger expression of love. Financial worries in January can lead to strained relationships, and dealing with debts is certainly not a great start to the New Year, and can fuel relationship disputes.

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3. Schedule time for your partner.

No thinking about the to do list, put away the cell phone and if possible go for a walk or a drive. Making your partner a priority means that for a small period of time, each day, you give your partner access to your current thoughts and feelings. Make sure your partner knows if you have said no to others and that time with your partner is a priority for you.

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4.Plan quality family time

In an ideal world, you might spend time with both families. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Family can be spread across the country, or even the world. Or, it might not be financially possible for you to do both. So, one party misses out and this may create resentment. To avoid such conflict, communicate honestly with your partner about your holiday expectations, and empathise with one another’s desire to be with family at Christmas. Try to come up with a compromise so that both parties are satisfied with the holiday plans.

Having a joyful, connected holiday season is absolutely possible. However, If your find that your relationship is in need of support this holiday season, we can help.

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This post was written by Lani Gouws on behalf of The Bridge Therapy Center. If you have any questions or require more information, please contact Lani here: