There may be fireworks outside but let’s try and avoid them at home:
All relationships can be hard work sometimes, whether that is because your girlfriend has fallen out with your Mum because she “keeps interfering”, or because your husband keeps leaving dirty socks on the floor or for countless other reasons.
The real problems start, however, when the rows become far less trivial and far more frequent. Your kids have heard you screaming at each other in the kitchen and your neighbour has telephoned the Police because of the disturbance. If you feel like every little thing your partner does is bothering you, what is the one thing that is going to make that feeling 1,000 times worse?
Yes, that’s right, now we’re in November, Christmas is officially next month, or 50 days away to be precise. The “bulk buying, food shopping, event organising, accommodating family you don’t really like but put up with because it’s Christmas”, season is just around the corner. All of a sudden your girlfriend’s habit of putting her empty food packaging back in the cupboard seems so much worse because it’s Christmas. That irritating routine of going to the pub every Wednesday and Friday is bothering you even more… because it is Christmas.
But how do you stop the fireworks from flaring up of the festive season and ending what is, really, a great relationship for the rest of the year? Here are my top tips on avoiding those explosive rows, tears and upset:
We’re all guilty of ‘going on one’ and ranting until we’re blue in the face about the same little thing, which then turns into a big thing and before you know it you don’t speak for 5 hours. At that stage, you’re not bothered whether your husband or wife apologises or explains themselves, or not. But deep down you are – you’re just too stubborn to accept their apology and move on. Rather than just hearing what your partner is saying to you, LISTEN to what your partner is saying to you.
- Walk away
If things are getting heated – leave. Why put yourself in a situation that clearly is going to just get worse? Go for a walk, feed the dog, make dinner – you will be far more likely to be able to deal with the argument rationally if you’re both calm.
- Deal with that issue, and that issue only.
Don’t bring up how angry you were that your wife bumped your car in January 2011. Why is that relevant now? Talk through the current issue and move on from it. Don’t hoard a list of points to make from years ago that have no relevance to why you need your boyfriend to wash up after himself.
- Problem solve.
Even if it is the next day, or once you’ve come back from work, fix the problem. Don’t just leave it because it is extremely likely that this row will happen again tomorrow and again next week, and continue until you actually put steps in place to avoid it in the first place. Talk it through and come up with a plan as to how you can avoid getting yourselves in this situation again.
- Never threaten your relationship.
If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. This type of emotional blackmail will put your partner into flight mode, they might surprise you and agree with you, and then you’re stuck in a situation where you’ve told your partner you want to break up, but you really don’t. What exactly have you achieved?
Remember – Christmas is a stressful time of year. Everyone has their own routines, family events and jobs to do. It is important to appreciate that everyone has their own traditions and ‘norms’. You’re going to be stressed one way or another, whether that’s because you’ve forgotten to get the turkey until last minute and only the small ones are left, or whether you just can’t find that Yankee candle that your daughter wants in her stocking.
It is vital that you remember that Christmas is temporary. Your relationship isn’t, and if you want to make it work you’ve got to work together, support each other and treat each other with respect all year round.