Christmas: a time to give gifts, spend time with family. Relax and enjoy time with the ones you love. Sound’s idyllic doesn’t it, and for many families it is. But for some couples it just adds more stress to an already strained relationship.
A December 2011 survey in Britain of 3,000 couples found that Christmas is the most stressful time for couples and also a time when more arguments happen, up to four a day!
According to the survey, one in five couples have considered splitting in the two weeks leading up to Christmas. A further 20% are worried they won’t make it to the end of January.
The main cause of the arguments is money. Not having enough of it. Spending too much on the children and each other, and what to buy at the supermarket. The rest of the arguments are about family, not helping with the domestic chores and drinking a bit too much at social events.
So here are a few ways you can survive Christmas as a couple.
- In all the hectic planning that surrounds Christmas, make sure you have some ‘couple time’. This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Take some time out and go for a walk together (not around the local shopping mall). Or spend some time at the end of the day to watch a bit of TV together. If you have houseguests, ask them to look after children for an hour so you can get away for a coffee or drink together.
- It isn’t just gift buying that causes stress. We also tend to spend up large in the supermarket buying all the treats for Christmas as well. If you haven’t planned your Christmas spend earlier in the year, it isn’t too late to do it. Take a reality check now. Total what you have already spent, add to that what you have left to buy. You might be able to cut back on what is left. This will help lessen the nasty shock in January.
- Focus on the positives in your relationship. Yes, I know that can be hard when there is a constant stream of visitors, Food to prepare and children wanting to know if Santa has been yet, and on top of all that you are tired.
- Make time in January to recover, both emotionally and financially from Christmas. Fit in some more ‘couple time’. Plan your budget for the upcoming year, set some goals (no I don’t mean New Year’s resolutions) and if you have overspent in December, deal with it straight away, so it doesn’t get further out of control.
- If your relationship hasn’t got back on an even keel, and you are still arguing and feeling stressed about money, then get some help, either from a marriage counselor or a financial adviser who can help you put a budget in place.
Don’t let December turn your relationship into a battlefield, keep talking to each other (not yelling), and if you do need some help and support from either each other or someone else, ask for it.
If you would like some help keeping your relationship on track financially. Give us a call or drop us a line.