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How to Keep the Holidays Fight-Free Between You and Your Mate

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Did your mother just diss your mate’s cooking and she’s giving you that look? Are you annoyed about spending Christmas at your in-laws? Is your sweetie in a bad mood and lashing out at you? Is he having to work late again? Do you feel a fist-fight about to erupt with the person you love? Stop aggression on the home front dead in its tracks with these emotion modifiers:

Avoid button-pushers. Don’t be aggressive and provoke an argument with sensitive issues, manipulate, or be rude. Discuss openly later at an appropriate time and place.

 Compromise. Give a little. Take turns. Suggest ways you can both get what you want.

 Don’t match their hostility. You could start a nasty shouting match. Stop. Breathe. If they are shouting, speak calmly and with compassion and sincerity in response.

 Be a good listener. Show empathy. React with kindness and understanding. Sometimes that’s all your partner wants. Cut them some slack. Put yourself in their shoes.

 Ask them what’s really bothering them and how you can make it better. Hurt and anger can take on various disguises. Coax them to get at the root of the problem. Just asking may help.

 Do something nice for them. Send them off for an afternoon to a spa or gym or for a little shopping therapy. Leave a love note on the mirror or fridge. Take the kids off their hands for the day or send them off to their grandparents for the weekend.

 Spend time in a relaxing setting together. Go to a park, their favorite restaurant. Take in a romantic or funny movie at the theater.

 Make yourself scarce – except for the big holiday dinner or other planned events. Stay out of their hair temporarily ­– especially if you’re the source of their anger.

How to Keep That Loving Feeling Before and Through the Holidays

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It’s so easy to become emotionally consumed by the holiday rush: making plans for parties and trips, sending holiday greetings, connecting with friends and family, exchanging gifts, getting yourself ready, getting the house ready … the tasks go on and on. Suddenly the season of joy – the time that’s supposed to be joyous, bring people together – is creating emotional distance between you and your mate.

Tedious distractions are steering you toward DOING more than FEELING what you’re doing. Your focus on your partner isn’t what it typically is. Your discussions with one another are short and so are your patience and ability to be more understanding. Clear your head of the less important seasonal clutter when you’re together. Stop obsessing about selecting presents and be more “present” for one another.

Put the Distractions on Temporary Hold

Look for opportunities to be together in calm, relaxing settings … just the two of you. Designate times and locations to be at peace with one another, block out the daily routine, allow the stress to melt away, have meaningful discussions, express your love. Peaceful activities and time alone together set the tone for that loving feeling throughout the holidays.