5 Arguments to Avoid Over the Holidays
Let's face it- the holidays can be a big ball of stress. Between either having to host relatives in your house and watch your brother in law pick his teeth with his fork, or having to uproot your nuclear family and camp out on that creaky sofa bed at your in-laws (while trying to keep from over-heating in the cramped family room your mother-in-law keeps at a stifling 85 degrees) well, it's enough to drive you to hit the bottle.
In fact there are five arguments that no matter how often you remind yourself NOT to have with your husband, somehow manage to rear their ugly head. And they can be exacerbated...say, when your brother-in-law starts going to town on the food particles in his mouth while you're all sitting down to eat.
Well this year I'm going to arm you with five techniques to avoid those pesky tiffs with your betrothed, because really the cycle ends with you. And deep down you know that no amount of complaining to your husband about his brother's grooming habits or his mother's insistence on keeping the temperature at a balmy 80 degrees is going to change anything. So perhaps the change starts with you-- and how you react to those sticky holiday situations.
#1 To decorate or not to decorate that is the question
Your husband would be happy with a little Charlie Brown tree and popcorn strung over it. Whereas you want a large, natural, freshly cut tree with all the bells and whistles. Instead of fighting over which tree to get try and remember this (before you attempt to strangle your husband’s neck) the holiday is not contingent on the decorations or the tree, that’s all just the trimming. The true essence of the holiday is about love, compassion, family and being thankful you have one more holiday to spend together. Maybe this year you acquiesce to your husband’s scrawny tree demands as long as he makes sure to top off your wine glass if ever he should see it empty throughout the holiday festivities- that’s a fair tradeoff- right?!
#2 Don't be a martyr and try to do everything yourself- delegate delegate!
Sure your husband might not agree that using the dish sponge to clean the toilet is unacceptable-- but if you’re going to be hosting his relatives for the holidays you're going to need to rely on him. This means if you ask him to clean the dishes and he used the bathroom sponge to do it-- just LET IT GO. No one (I don’t think) ever died from eating off plates that were cleaned via such methods. The bottom line: Let go of your prescribed roles so set in stone and allow more fluidity to them. You can't shoulder everything on your own; let your husband help and just take a deep breath and say it is good enough.
#3 The "how many gifts" debate
You're a spendthrift and he's a saver. You want to lasso the moon and give it to your children; while your husband says they should each get a pack of gum and be done. The argument over how much money to spend on your kids’ gifts can, if you don’t come to some sort of compromise, destroy the spirit in which it was given. Try to remember that your husband’s thriftiness can be construed as trying to keep your kids from being spoiled rotten by you, and help them realize that the value of a present is not in its monetary value but is about the spirit in which it was given. And maybe you can convince your husband that a pack of chewing gum just won’t cut it. Remember that long after the presents are unwrapped and played with, the memories that will live on in your kids’ hearts and minds are that of being with parents who love each other and them. End of story.
#4 Don’t get stuck on the gift your spouse gives you
So your husband bought you another #1 wife mug – not your first choice but at least he didn’t forget to get you something. Sure the monogrammed golf clubs you bought him were much more meaningful and obviously took greater thought and you’d love a husband who bought you a gift you truly desired. Unfortunately sometimes men simply don’t realize how much value we place on the things they buy us- and that often we see these items as tokens of their love for us. Maybe this year instead of being disappointed by yet another gift gone bad - drop a couple of hints about what you’d really like. And if he still doesn’t take the hint remember this—how your husband treats you those other 364 days out of the year is far more important than that miscellaneous bottle of drugstore perfume he bought you.
#5 Have an escape plan... from the in-laws
It’s no secret your husband doesn’t like your parents and that you don’t care much for his. Still this once a year get-together is a marital obligation you’re just going to have to muddle through. So if you find yourself stuck at the dinner table next to his Uncle Harry whose dragon breath is causing less oxygen flow to your brain--plan an escape route. Maybe you can run out for more wine, cheese or eggs, get creative—just make sure you get out and take a breather as often as you need and remember this too shall pass. And your husband is probably not all that fond of his family either!