Couples who are constantly together get into argument cycles that gravitate into frustration and resentment.
Christmas has long been one of the most important dates in the Christian calendar, and is nowadays one of the most popular global holidays. All around the world, families gather to celebrate together.
Such celebrations predate Christianity by many centuries, because as Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, many of the important Christian celebrations took over existing Roman festivals. Including Christmas. Until then, December 25 had been the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
So, meeting up to celebrate in late December is a very ancient tradition, and families everywhere look forward to spending time together. But Christmas also has a darker side. We expect everything to be wonderful, but in reality it’s often not.
So, there can be huge arguments, especially between husbands and wives. All around the world, murder rates peak over Christmas. And divorce lawyers get a lot more work in January.
Mostly that’s because of all the time we spend together, maybe with people we only see occasionally. Even husbands and wives rarely spend so much time together without a break.
Little irritations become maddening. We remember events and disputes better forgotten. And so the stage is set for frustration, anger and rows.
It helps to try to spot potential flash points before they erupt, and to decide to stay cool no matter what. Focus on what you’re doing, take slow, deep breaths, stretch, and relax tight muscles. Often it’s only when you do that, that you realise just how tense they were!
And when couples fall out?
Men are particularly sensitive to anything that implies rejection, disrespect or distrust. Women resent their men’s focus on being right, rather than being loving and caring.
Men get angry and counter arguments with blame and criticism. They shout, or refuse to talk at all. Women act as if there’s no problem, or give in. But underneath they’re all seething irritation and resentment.
Women hate how men don’t seem to acknowledge their feelings. That’s because men grow up learning language that sounds fine to another male, but not to a woman. So saying ‘don’t worry about it,’ or offering advice, sounds helpful to a man. But to a woman, it shows a complete lack of sensitivity. She needs you to accept that she’s upset, especially if it’s you who made her that way!
Don’t try arguing yourself out of the situation. She needs you to listen and understand.
However things started, try to keep calm and concentrate on relieving the tension. Use affectionate words, ask instead of demanding, listen and express understanding and sympathy. Touch affectionately, have a facial expression that says that you care, and try to see things through your partner’s eyes.
Try to avoid criticising. Be less aggressive during shouting matches. Take comments less personally, and make more ‘repair attempts’ during an fight. Be reassuring, gently humorous, and comforting. So that the fight winds down and you can go on happily enjoying your Christmas together.