6 Ways to Powerfully Navigate Holiday Stressors with your Partner

6 Ways to Powerfully Navigate Holiday Stressors with your Partner

How to Beat the 33% Increase in Post-Holiday Divorce Filings!

Credit: “Surviving Christmas” — Are you just trying to make it through the holidays?

Holiday season spikes divorce rates and separations, with up to a 33% jump in post-holiday divorce filings, according to a family law firm in Los Angeles.

And it’s easy to understand why — with all those Family Triggers running around like a pack of terrible-two’s toddlers.

I’m in the business of helping couples navigate these tense times year-round, so here are some resources to keep your sanity and your connection in your relationships this holiday season.

1 Implement an “Exit Strategy” or “Safe Word” for family gatherings

Before entering into a Trigger-Happy situation, decide together if you’ll have 1) a time limit you’ve both decided. 2) a safe word or phrase that indicates: “It’s time to leave.” or 3) a certain set of behaviors that indicate our partner is “maxed out” and needs an intervention, “Honey, come check on the food with me.”

2 Commit to keeping family drama separate from your relationship

Often our partner becomes the outlet for our stressors. If you’re on the receiving end, remind your partner that you’ve both committed to not taking family stress out on each other and offer your partner a healthy outlet — a vent sesh, validation of their experience, maybe just a hug. Be a source of comfort over contention.

If you’re unsure how to do this, refer to our FREE Conscious Relationship Audio Lesson on how to Actively Listen.

3 Up your Gratitude Practice to daily or nightly.

Science has shown that when we hear from our partners what they appreciate about us, it releases all those yummy hormones — seratonin and dopamine, more so than if we just make a gratitude list. Add a little Oxytocin with physical touch and boom, watch those tense moments melt. 

If you have the Relationship Check-In (TM) deck from Happy Partners Project, do a check-in using only the Gratitude category.

4 Check-In on Expectations

Are you both clear on gifting expectations? Family time expectations? What about the expectations on balancing eachother’s existing traditions with new traditions you’re creating together? Make sure you both have a clear understanding of what the other expects. 

5 Don’t forget these 3 C’s — Communication, Compromise, Compassion

All of the previous 4 rely on these 3 C’s. Anything can be solved with good and proactive communication. And as you both navigate any stressors that arise, having compassion for your partner is an excellent companion to Gratitude to melt stress. 

6 Trade in Unhealthy Conflict Resolution Strategies for Healthy Ones 

If you’re having a particularly hard time and arguments escalate, remember that ruptures happen; it’s how you repair and navigate those ruptures that make or break the relationship. I’ve recently covered this on Happy Partners Project’s social post “How to Have Healthy Arguments” when one partner is maxed out. 

Visit our feed for the 6 steps to take.

Jocelyn Johnson is the founder of Happy Partners Project and the creator of the Relationship Check-In (TM) Method, the acclaimed science and psych-backed process for strengthening relationships and empowering couples to create their best relationship. She coaches couples and individuals to integrate conscious relationships habits, heal relational wounds and accelerate change. She is certified in Cognitive Behavioral Coaching, Neuro-linguistic Programming and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy.


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