Does your spouse ruin the holidays for you? Seems harsh, but it must be true for many. In fact, 16 million people Googled “my husband ruins every holiday” and over 46 million Googled “my wife ruins every holiday”. Yikes! Don’t ruin your holiday for your spouse!
This time of year is without a doubt very stressful even in the best marriages. There is just SO much to do in too few days. Add in all money you spend and the other relationships outside your marriage – hello, in-laws – and Christmas can be a recipe for holiday stress and fights.
Wouldn’t it be nice to avoid the ho-ho-help me feeling this year? Here are three ways we’d recommend you do that:
1. Make a plan.
Before you hit the mall or starting adding to your online cart, make a plan. Together. You don’t have to outline every penny you will spend. But set some budget amounts for your purchases, year-end donations, and party hosting this year.
It is SO easy to get off course when buying gifts for your kids. I think parents enjoy some of the toys as much as the kids do. But you won’t enjoy the January credit card bills if you don’t agree on some spending figures first.
You don’t have to give your spouse any hints of what you might buy for them, but agree on a maximum amount you want spent. If he finds a great deal and spends less — good on him — OR he can hit up another website for more. But make a plan. And stick to it.
That will come naturally to some and be like swallowing a hanger for others, but your finances (and your spouse) will thank you.
2. Stop a fight before it escalates.
If you made a plan for holiday spending, but a misunderstanding somehow still crops up, stop it before it gets out of hand.
We like to use the phrase “stop, drop, and roll” as a reminder for how to handle conflict. The old elementary school hook the fire fighters used to tell us.
If you feel your blood pressure going up, stop. Zip your lip.
Drop the topic.
And roll out of the room.
You can address it later. Let the emotions (and blood pressure) calm down.
We’re not encouraging you to ignore disagreements or stuff your feelings, but timing is everything. Bring it up later. First, ask when is a good time to discuss it. Then circle back around when their defenses aren’t up.
3. Be aware of your spouse’s stress level.
Timing is everything. This time of year is full of extra expectations, expenses, and demands on our time and temper. Tread lightly or at least wisely. It is the kind thing to do.
Respect your spouse’s stress level. Don’t ruin your holiday for your spouse. Choosing the right time to discuss your spending or even spending missteps is critical.
And if you can, set aside the common complaints, the big issues, that won’t get settled in the next few weeks anyway. Make a plan to discuss and adjust in New Year.
Be intentional about a few ways to avoid the tension and fights this holiday season and everyone will have a Happier Holiday and a Merrier Christmas.
Make it happen!
Scott & Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple
Creators of the 5 Money Personalities
For more on this topic from Scott & Bethany, watch this.