July, 2020

How the Holiday Can Wreak Havoc on your Relationship

Unless you and your partner are jetting off to Bora Bora for the holidays, it’s over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house you go. Spending the holiday season with each other’s families can put you on the fast track to a closer connection, or create some serious holiday drama.

Both families want face time

Both families want face time, at the same time. If your family’s must-not-be-missed holiday party takes part on the same night as your partner’s annual temple service, it’s time to start the negotiations. Where you spend your holidays can be a point of contention, especially for new couples. Establish a tradition early on. Agree to spend Christmas Eve with one family and Christmas Day at another. This will reduce the need to have the same conversation year after year. If your families live far from each other, spend one year with your family and the next with your partner’s family.

Rude family members

Everyone has those less-than-wonderful family members that seem to shine the brightest this time of year. Hearing your snobby sister-in-law lambast you for not having children yet or listening to your ultra-conservative cousin preach about his values doesn’t evoke the holiday spirit. If it’s your family that is slinging the insults, take the offender aside and tell them that their comments are hurting you. If it’s your partner’s kin that is slamming you, a straightforward “We’ll have to disagree on this one” should do the trick, then try to get out of the conversation and thank your lucky stars that you don’t have to see these people every day. Try to steer clear of subjects like politics, religion and money, and before you leave home, talk to your partner about an exit-plan strategy to save each other from awkward conversations.


Giving gifts can be a relationship minefield of potential misinterpretation. Communicate with your partner about the type of gifts they give/receive in the family and follow suit. If your partner’s family bestows lavish gifts during the holidays, giving them a $25 gift card to Starbucks is probably not the wisest gift choice.

Different eating habits

Different eating habits may not affect your day-to-day relationship but throw in family traditions, hurt feelings and it’s enough to make a lactose-intolerant guest chug a mug of milk. You might get off easy with a family style meal that allows you to pick and choose, if you’re not so lucky, eat what you can and if someone asks if you’re enjoying the food, say it’s delicious!

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