There are quite a few hurdles that every couple has to get over if they stand a chance at making it through the long haul. The holiday season sits right atop that list. Amidst heightened expectations of what the holiday season is supposed to be, reality can be eye-opening for most couples. The lessons learned from this joyous occasion can bring a couple closer together or pull them apart. But what is it about the holiday season that makes it so polarizing? With the holidays being at the end of the year, it gives everyone an opportunity to reflect upon their relationships and their lives in general. Resolutions are made and unwanted behaviors and associations are tossed into the “Last Year” bin, including unwanted relationships. On the upswing, this is also the time of year where people take defining steps towards deepening existing relationships and taking them to the next level.
The pressure and stress of the holidays can also turn any pre-existing issue into a four alarm fire. It’s hard enough to resolve issues quietly and privately, but when you throw in traveling, family and guests, gift-buying, and holiday parties (with alcohol), it’s enough to make people say or do things they cannot easily take back. Learning when to recognize the smoke signals and pull back before things get too hot is the mark of a successful couple.
Gift-giving deserves special mention here because, whether it is intentional or not, your gift makes a statement. It’s a bit different from birthday gifts or other occasions in that Christmas gifts are, more often than not, unveiled in public. Not just anybody, but the people who matter. The level of thought and/or funds put into the gift directly correlate with the level of commitment and caring one is publicly willing to display. The outcome can be heartwarming or incredibly disappointing. Even if the relationship doesn’t survive the season, don’t despair. It’s always best to acknowledge what is not working so that you can move onto what does. Every mistake made is one less to make in the next relationship.