‘Dashing through the stress’

Tips to keep your marriage merry during the holiday hustle

ROCKWALL, TX (Nov. 24, 2014) While “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” at the holidays, family expectations can make many feel more like “Dashing through the stress of Thanksgiving and Christmas.” Marriage and relationships are put under pressure and can quickly move to the danger zone.

Ah, it begins with Thanksgiving. We try to plan the perfect meal; at the same time we begin thinking about Black Friday and all the money we can save if we hit the malls at daybreak. The stress of budgeting, in-laws, decking our halls with decorations (trying to surpass last year’s), parties to host and activities to attend – all of these things can test the best of marriages.

In a survey conducted by Mental HealthAmerica, money concerns and chaotic schedules are two of the top sources of holiday stress. These stressors quickly begin to spill over into our relationships, and the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas is lost along the way.

Even though we are going to experience stress though the holidays, a survival plan can be created to avoid pitfalls. Here are some tips:

  • Talk over your expectations of the holidays with each other—realize that it will not be perfect.
  • Discuss how many gifts, to whom you are going to buy for and how much you want to spend.
  • Set a holiday budget together and stick to it.
  • Know your limits with what you can and can’t do.
  • Remind one another about the true meaning of each holiday—pray together.
  • Discuss expectations and plans—which in-laws’ house to go to for Thanksgiving dinner and which one for the other Christmas holidays.
  • Involve your kids in the planning.
  • Set time limits of your stay at your in-laws beforehand.
  • Deflect negative comments from family members.
  • Take time for yourselves—go for walks or to the gym. Take a time out!
  • Keep control of alcohol intake.

In my years of experience as a Relationship Coach, I have seen marriages fall apart during the holiday season. The stress can be enough to bring to the surface unresolved issues. The perfect picture soon becomes the worst nightmare. Hopes and expectations turn into disappointments; soon, couples find themselves contemplating a way out.

Some couples may need extra help during the holidays to manage their stress. Others just need to get help due to their present situation. Moreover, individuals can benefit greatly from coaching, too. One cannot change others; it starts with you!

By Blue Ribbon News guest columnist Enid Reyes, a Life, Relationship & Life Transitions Coach and founder of Rockwall Grace Center for Family & Community Development. Enid recently launched her new business, Life Compass: Life, Relationship & Life Transitions Coaching. 

“Coaching is not therapy; it is an individualized, collaborative process where an individual or couple is viewed as naturally creative, resourceful and whole. They are able to achieve goals with effective support, information and guidance,” she said. “Life coaching helps you to put together a positive plan for the future. Many people use coaching to work through relationships, marriage, divorce, stress, grief, conflicts, spiritual issues, low self-esteem, past hurts, wellness, career, and many other issues. Life coaching takes a strength based approach.” 

For a free consultation, contact Enid .

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