How To Survive The Holidays When You’re Having Marriage Trouble

christmas-ornamentGetting through the holidays while in marriage crisis can be hard.

Between holiday shopping, work parties, in-laws, and traveling, things can get confusing and messy.

Things may be even more complicated if you have children.

All you want to do is get through to January 1st emotionally unscathed and with your marriage still intact. 

Do you pretend that everything is fine and dandy and deal with your issues after the holidays end?

Should you try to work things out–or at least agree to be neutral and civil?

Or should you split apart and go separate ways for the holiday celebrations and traditions?

Whether you’re physically going through a divorce during the holidays or things are just on the rocks with you and your spouse, for whatever reason, you realize that you need to come up with a plan for dealing with the holidays while having marriage trouble. 

Let’s take a look at several tips on handling yourself during the holidays with marriage trouble.

Get with your spouse and be open about your feelings regarding what is going on with your marriage and what your expectations for the holidays are.

Create a goal together.

Or at least make sure you’re both on the same page.

Do you want to be able to visit both sides of the family and stay civil while not letting anyone know there is trouble brewing in the relationship?

Or perhaps your goal is to give each other space and go separate ways for the holiday and get back together to connect before the new year.

Whatever the goal may be, make sure you and your spouse agree on it.

If you have children, the previous tip is even more important.

Be thinking about what kind of experience you want your child/children to have during the holidays.

Put them first.

You and your spouse want them to have fond memories–not memories of ruined holidays and turmoil.

Be realistic.

Of course, you may want this holiday to be a winter-wonderland-picture-perfect one, but is that reasonable for what is going on within your marriage?

It may be better for you emotionally to not set your standards as high as you normally would.

Remember to take care of YOU.

As a spouse, parent, or child, you may feel the need to do, do, do and be a people-pleaser, especially during the holidays.

During this time and with marriage trouble happening, you’re going to want to practice self-care. Utilizing coping and relaxation skills, mediating, practicing mindfulness, and socializing with friends and family without your spouse around the holidays is extra important.

De-stress and get your mind off things.

You may want to skip the spiked eggnog.

Usually inhibitions are low after drinking and emotions can run high.

If drinking tends to make you more emotional than usual and may push you toward acting or speaking in ways you wouldn’t have otherwise…then it may be best to skip the holiday booze. 

Appreciate what you have around you and show gratitude.

Things could be worse; there are those all over the world, even close to you, having a horrible holiday, or even none at all.

Despite the marital problems, count your blessings and show gratitude for what you do have. 

Remember that things are in your control.

Dealing with marital problems during this special time of year may seem hectic, upsetting, and messy, but you and your spouse are in control of how you react toward each other and what kind of holiday you want to have. 

Here is a scenario to put things into perspective:

Katie and Josh have not been doing well and divorce has come up a few times within the past year.

The couple has two small children, which is the main reason they have been trying to work things out.

The holidays are coming up and Katie isn’t sure how she will survive.

There is a lot of tension and her and Josh have been arguing more often.

Typically during the holidays, they would split time between the two sides of the family and do several holiday-related things together as a family.

They have a lot of traditions.

Josh hasn’t been staying at the house lately and when he does, he sleeps in a separate bed.

Katie has been putting off talking to him about the holidays since everything has been so tense between them.

Since they have the two kids, she realizes that it is not smart of her to avoid the elephant in the room.

She decides to text her husband while he is at work and let him know that she would like to speak with him in person the next day about holiday plans.

Katie creates a list of talking points, what her goal is for the conversation and what her goal is for the holidays.

All she wants is to be civil for her daughters’ sakes and help them to have a wonderful time over the holiday break with friends and family.

Maybe her and Josh will reconnect a little and be able to move on from this rut after the new year.

As you can see, Katie recognizes that things are difficult but doesn’t want that to affect her daughters’ holiday.

She comes up with a plan to speak to her husband and has hope for the future.

If you are going through a difficult time in your marriage during the approaching holidays, know that by completely avoiding your issues, you and your spouse will only be postponing a fight and creating an even larger problem.

Sit down with your spouse and be open and honest about what you both want out of the holidays.

\Create a plan of action and make sure to debrief after the new year.

The holidays don’t have to be miserable–they can still be a time full of love, family, friends, and tradition. 

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