In this article, we discuss the three keys to a great holiday in a broken family.
In society, there’s this picture-perfect image of the classic holiday. Families surrounded by the tree, opening gifts, laughing and smiling without a single conflict. This warm Christmas image isn’t the same for everyone, and the idea of the perfect Christmas is stressful in a divorced or broken relationship.
What happens when there’s conflict? How do you handle the stress of the holidays when there’s an imperfect family dynamic?
Whether you’re married, separated, or divorced, Marriage Helper gives you essential tips for surviving unideal holidays.
Step One to a Great Holiday in a Broken Family: Open The Lines of Communication
As a parent, be mindful about how you communicate with your spouse around family. Open the lines of communication to ease the tension of what’s going on. Divorce can negatively affect married couples and their children into their adult years. According to divorce-based research , children with divorced parents are four times more likely to have social problems. For successful holidays, apply these open-conversation tips:
- Speak to your current or former spouse calmly to create a foundation of understanding. If there is conflict, address it early or later to avoid tense behavior.
- Avoid a pre-determined idea of what the holidays should look like or how your spouse may or may not act.
- Keep an open mind around a good time. Let all the pressure out of the pot before the significant occasion.
- Change your attitude about the environment.
Step Two to a Great Holiday in a Broken Family: Put Down Your Pride.
We’ve all heard the saying; there’s a time and a place for everything. It’s easy to get defensive or reactive when your spouse makes you angry or their attitude seems less than ideal. To avoid exploding on your spouse or ignoring each other during the holidays, think about the effect of your reactions.
The way you respond could make or break the day, leading to an argument. Take the necessary steps to put down your pride and react differently in a strained or conflicted situation. Setting aside your frustrations shows your children that family and love matter above all else. Ways to center your emotions and remain calm:
- Think before you react. Breathe in and exhale before responding.
- Track your emotions. “How am I feeling at this moment?” “Is this a necessary reply?”
- Be an active listener.
- Take a time out to clear your mind.
Step Three to a Great Holiday in a Broken Family: Understand Everything Can’t be Perfect.
Holidays are complicated, and there’s just something about them that emphasizes how broken a family feels. Use that holiday push to set aside your differences to bring your family together. If you’re separated, divorced, or struggling with your marriage, those good cop-bad cop roles are hard to break.
Understand that nothing is perfect, despite what you see in movies. The holidays offer an opportunity to show someone selfless love and unconditional care regardless of history. The key is remembering that the holidays are not important. It’s the family. No matter how complicated your family circumstance is, the focus is to lower expectations and embrace what life delivers.
Enjoy Stress-Free Holidays With Marriage Helper Tips
Don’t let the grinch steal your Christmas. Work together with your spouse or loved ones to build a better foundation for a happy holiday season. Come to a compromise or find ways to use smart contact for better communication. At Marriage Helper, we specialize in saving marriages and helping couples in need. We offer resources to make your marriage work and better you from our workshops and free course. Your family does not have to feel broken forever. Make the change this season. Contact us here or call (615) 472-1161.