The holidays are coming, and this can often be a stressful time on any relationship. You both have family parties, which somehow always seem to end up on the same day. You may fight about what to do or end up disappointed in the decision. The stress of the holiday planning and organizing combined with day-to-day tasks can take a toll on a marriage.
So how do you rise above this? The holidays are supposed to be a happy time, and if you are feeling unhappy in a relationship, it makes the holidays less merry and bright.
You could get out of the relationship, which is what a lot of people end up doing in January after the holidays. Divorce is a sticky situation that usually leaves both partners bitter and alone. Instead facing the end, here are six things you can do now to avoid divorce.
You could write list upon list of what you appreciate about your spouse, and this is a great first step, but it would make it even better if you told them how grateful you are. Tell them what you appreciate about the things they do for you and your family.
Thank your spouse for the little things: thank you decorating our house like a winter wonderland, thank you for making gingerbread cookies, thank you for washing my shirts, thank you for putting the toilet seat down, thank you for taking out the trash.
The list of things they do goes on and on. Everyone appreciates feeling appreciated, and it will increase the love you feel for each other when you express gratitude.
2. Count to 10
We hear often that when you are frustrated with someone, you should count to ten. This seems so cliché and a little annoying, but it really does work. We often say things we don't mean when we are angry. Counting to 10 can prevent a lot of hurtful words.
3. Look them in the eye
When your spouse is talking, look them straight in the eye. Don't continue looking at your phone, reading the newspaper or making dinner. Stop what you are doing, look at them and listen to them. Show them they are important to you by taking the time to make eye contact while you listen.
4. Don't give up
Have hope that you can stay together. I think having hope is one of the most underrated parts of marriage. Hope that you will be together and that you can make it through frustration, anger, dirty dishes and stinky diapers. Hope that they have your best interests in mind. This means giving them the benefit of the doubt and bolstering them when they are having a hard day.
It's important to have a good time together. It can be hard to think about that in the middle of a stressful day or a stressful week, but find something to laugh at together every day. Whether you are laughing at a cute thing your child said, the tangled mess of lights or a joke, you can always find something to laugh about. Laughter will bridge a lot of hurt feelings and increase the bond between you two (just make sure you are laughing together and not at each other).
When you are mad at someone, the last thing you want to do is touch them. Once you stop touching, it can be hard to re-break the touch barrier. Hold hands frequently so you don't lose your physical connection as a couple. You can hold hands while you're watching a movie, when you're walking down the grocery store isles or when you are walking into a friend's house. If you have lost your physical connection, don't be afraid to ask them if you can hold their hand - you will be amazed how that humility will strengthen your relationship.
Marriage is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to you. Don't lose that special person in your life. Take this simply advice and rebuild your relationship.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.