Remedying Holiday Relationship Dilemmas

Didn't we just put away the holiday decorations, make New Year resolutions and resume our normal, everyday lives? Believe it or not, it's that time of year again. Chances are you've had a challenge or two navigating your relationship through the (sometimes) stormy holiday season without springing a few leaks.

Holidays don't have to drain your important relationships. Recognize potential obstacles to happy holidays before they take on a life of their own. Here are a few holiday challenges that might ring familiar.

You Have Different Faiths

You came together originally despite your differing faiths; so don't let the holidays ruin an otherwise healthy relationship. Regardless of which faith you practice, there must be areas in which you and your partner share similar beliefs and ideas. Focus on these common areas, not on the differences. Incorporate traditions from each faith into your holiday celebration or create your own tradition by blending the best of both faiths. If you have children, this is a good way to teach them to understand and honor your respective faiths.

Induling Too Much

Too much drinking, eating, spending, [fill-in-your-vice here]. Stress and unrealistic expectations can trigger the "too-much" syndrome. Recognize if you're prone to filling your plate more than you should and find alternate ways of coping. Remember, everyone brings his or her own drama to the holidays and excessive alcohol can make it worse. Try deep breathing or take a walk to release frustrations instead of over-indulging.

Do you typically overspend around the holidays? Don't add financial tension to your relationship. Agree how much you will spend beforehand and stick to it. Consider gifts that don't cost money but still show that you care.

Cultural and Traditional Differences

You came from a small family and holiday gatherings were quiet, intimate occasions. Your partner grew up in a large family where holidays are loud, rowdy and action-packed affairs. Imagine the shock you each might experience if thrust into such unfamiliar situation. Determine where you can compromise and accommodate for the good of your relationship. Better yet, start new holiday routine. Couples who develop their own traditions tend to be more satisfied with their relationships.

More than half of all breakups happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. Don't become a statistic this holiday season. The keys to surviving the holidays are good planning and setting realistic expectations.