How to Avoid Fighting during the Holidays

avoid fightingI’m sure there are a number of things that are already stressing you out about the holidays.

Your cousins coming in from out of town. The status of the gift you ordered online. Whether or not your mother is going to let you cook Christmas dinner without hovering over your shoulder.

The specific stressors may be different for each of us, but they exist for almost everyone. The last thing you want to do is add even more stress by getting into a fight with your partner. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens for a lot of people.

Maybe you and your partner are in a bit of a rough place, or tension has been building up for quite some time. Maybe all of that external stress is just causing you to vent. Whatever your reasons, there are things you can do to avoid fighting and keep a calm head and enjoy the holidays.

De-stress before talking about minor conflicts.

Get yourself in a calm mindset before you discuss any minor conflicts or issues. The pressure of the holidays can only intensify conflicts. Also remember that alcohol or excitement can intensify emotions and actions, so don’t bring up a conflict immediately after getting home from a holiday party. If you decide to bring up an issue within your relationship, find a quiet moment at home to do so.

Create a plan for conflict resolution.

You may feel like some of your relationship issues would be better resolved after the holidays are over, especially if they are minor. But your partner may have a different view.

Talk to your partner about when and how you will resolve the different conflicts in your relationship. Is it best to get it out of the way and resolved before your family comes into town? Or would you rather not spoil the holidays over something that isn’t a pressing matter? Having an open dialogue about your plan will get both of you on the same page and in agreement about the next few weeks.

Don’t vent to others.

Your mom is coming into town, and you just need to vent about the stress you’re feeling towards your partner. It feels good to let off some steam, right? Wrong!

Unfortunately, this might create a rift between your mom and your partner, especially if this is a first Christmas for these two, or your parents are already not the biggest fans of your partner.

You don’t want to start a family battle around the dinner table, so update your relatives on your grievances after they’ve flown home for the New Year. Work with your partner to resolve any conflicts, so you can share, if appropriate, the good efforts the two of you have made.

Have a conflict that needs to be solved before the holiday season or need a better approach to working constructively with conflict? Give a relationship counselor a call. They will be able to help you and your partner create a plan for a loving holiday season.

Walt Ciecko, Ph. D., BCB
605 Wynyard Rd
Wilmington, DE 19803