Dr. Lurve is Australia’s leading expert on all things love. She specializes in helping people navigate the science and metaphysics of relationships. A modern-day cupid for individuals discovering self-love, singles ready to find love, and couples ready to make love last forever, she is the singular authority on how to make relationships work.
Just having gone through Christmas, everything is elevated, stress levels, financial burdens and pesky in-laws. Throw them all into the Christmas month of December, usually makes January popularly known in therapy circles as “divorce month”. We become more time poor and stressed as this time of year approaches.
The stress of Christmas can cause couples to forget all the positive aspects of their relationship, as they are busy focusing on keeping other people happy, such as extended family and friends. It’s a time when those once a year rituals cause disagreements and family fights. Come December 1st, relationship cracks and underlying issues start to appear, unresolved conflict over the years with family and the consumption of alcohol doesn’t help.
Why do so many couples find themselves arguing during the festive season?
Studies show the average couple will have four arguments a day during December, totalling 124 arguments over the month. Communication throughout the relationship is important but is crucial during the festive season. When people know what will most likely get them frustrated, whether it be each other or visiting family members, discuss it beforehand—these frustrations are normally pre-existing and easily come to the surface through the busyness of Christmas. Until couples learn how to communicate and deal with tough conversations, we will continue to
have a massive spike in couples breaking up after a month of brawling in December.
What can couples do to work through these pressures over the holidays?
1. The in-laws and visiting family members:
Having your partner’s family, including mother-in-law, can be an added stress on a relationship—the most important thing to remember is that the visit is temporary.
2. Money and spending:
The combination of having to navigate busy shopping centres searching for the perfect gift and then shelling out hard earned cash, can cause friction—instead consider gifts like quality time together, breakfast in bed or a new activity. If you struggle, have a think about what they nag you for most, that’s your best clue!
This could be really good for some couples but it could prove to be too much for those couples that are struggling. If that’s you, come up with a plan and organize your days, so that you are not in each other’s faces all day. Just because you have holidays doesn’t mean you need to stay home, get out a little.
4. Manage expectations:
Perfect is normally a picture you have made up in your head, rarely do people notice how badly you have prepared for the day—if anything it is the opposite, most people notice the great effort you have made. The anxiety comes from your focus on what others might think about you and your efforts.
5. Be mindful:
If you know alcohol might be a problem through this high-pressure time, manage it. Prepare for what could derail you. If you’re prepared, then you are less likely to fail.