Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Anthony Centore, PhD & Taylor Bennett of Thriveworks.com.
With the holidays fast approaching, it’s important to note that our marriages are definitely not immune to the stress the season brings with it. In fact, recent research from the University of Washington has shown that divorce rates seem to spike right after the winter (and the summer) holidays. According to the scientists involved in this study, this might be due in part to failed expectations and consequent disappointment, as well as financial strain surrounding Christmas.
Here’s the good news: you can take several measures to defend your marriage against stress this holiday season. If you want to sidestep this statistic, put a few rules in place for overcoming these stressors and keeping your marriage happy, healthy, and sexy:
Rule #1: Get the money talk out of the way.
The aforementioned study found that financial strain likely plays a role in the high divorce rates this time of year (as if we needed science to tell us money can wreak havoc on our lives). So, let’s nip this problem in the bud and lay down the law for holiday spending. Many of us spend more money during the holidays than any other time of the year, so creating a budget is important. Before your first trip to the mall this Christmas, have a talk with your spouse about how much money you’re both comfortable spending on presents, decorations, and anything else pertaining to the holiday season. As long as you both follow this budget, you’ll dodge a whole lot of arguing and get to focus your energy on loving each other instead.
Rule #2: Divide and conquer.
Money isn’t the only source of stress during the holiday season. Most of us are also pressed for time around Christmas, which can put some strain on your marriage if you aren’t careful. I mean, just consider all you have to get done: holiday shopping, present-wrapping, decorating, cooking, baking, cleaning, planning travels, visiting family. And that’s just the short list! Your busy schedule can quickly create a rift between you and your partner, especially if one of you is getting the brunt of all the work. So, make a plan to divide and conquer. Divvy up all that the two of you have to accomplish—one person bakes the cookies, while the other wraps the presents—so you don’t end up despising one another. Work as a team to check off all your to-dos this holiday season, and reap the benefits of a much happier,…