Thanksgiving is that time of year where we sit around the table and share a deliciously picturesque meal and reflect on how grateful we are for everything. In the back ground peaceful music plays as the smell of apple pie fills the air. Well, at least that’s the Norman Rockwell version of it. Despite the hopeful title of the holiday, this is often a time of conflict for couples. Perhaps you are visiting too many places, contending with societal expectations of creating the perfect meal, or dealing with difficult family members. In all of its glory, Thanksgiving can shake up our routine and comes with extra noise and a variety of social interaction.
You may even find that you love everything associated with the holiday but perhaps the hustle and bustle is a bit much for your partner and they become withdrawn or irritated. Being that we tend to be drawn to partners who are a bit different than us, it is not uncommon for each partner to have a different reaction to the festivities. With that said, it’s good to go into the holiday with a game plan.
1. Manage your expectations
If your partner is painfully shy, it’s highly unlikely that they will suddenly come out of their shell to dazzle your family and be the life of the party. Take stock of who your partner is and how they function in crowds. How they tend to behave in social situations will not change just because it is a holiday, even if you would like it to.
2. Respect each other’s boundaries
Are there certain topics that are just off limits around family members or other holiday guests? It’s a good idea to have a conversation prior to the holiday event to check in on any topics that are not for a public forum to your partner. You may think it’s perfectly fine to discuss his new job, However if your partner is very shy about their professional life, he may not appreciate you gushing about his work. By clarifying ahead of time where the boundaries are, you have a much better chance of avoiding conflict or putting your foot in your mouth.
3. Actually Appreciate Them
Typically, people are drawn to a partner who is different than them. You may fall in love with this person for all of the strengths that they possess that seem to balance you out. Then once you get comfortable with them, you may start trying to change them and wonder why they don’t think and behave like you. Instead of focusing on how your partner could be different, take a moment to think about what drew you to them in the first place. What do you like about your partner? If it’s hard to think of their positives and complaints keep coming to mind, flip the complaint into a positive. Yes, maybe she’s a little bossy sometimes, but are you drawn to her assertive confident style? With a little mental reframing, you can remember why your partner is such a catch and accept them for who they are.
Although the holidays may bring up a bit of stress, it can be a very joyful time. Keeping a greater intention for your relationship in perspective can help to actually feel grateful for your partner over the holidays, rather than just paying the idea lip service. With that said, Happy Thanksgiving and may it be filled with love, harmony, acceptance, and delicious dessert!