So...you’re married now! Hooray! Cue the rainbows, sunshine and confetti!
Except...now it’s holiday time and you have to decide whose side you’ll be spending time with. You don’t want to split up, but you’d rather go to your own family (or not). What should you do?
Whatever you decide, you’re going to disappoint someone so the best thing to do is to make sure you and your spouse are on the same page.
To help you navigate the trickiness of marrying each other’s family, here are 4 things you two should discuss before showing up to the holiday get-togethers!
If your family events are reasonably close to each other, this could look like showing up to both events by cutting your time at each event short so you two can make an appearance.
If it’s not logistically possible to go to both events, then it might be best to alternate which holidays you spend with each side. For example: odd years are with your side and even years are with your spouse’s side. If you went to your family’s event for Thanksgiving, then go to theirs for Christmas.
Whatever you two decide, make sure you back each other up so it’s known to everyone that you guys chose together and there was no strong-arming involved. You two are a team, so show up as a united front no matter what people have to say. Kind of like deciding who to invite to your wedding! Do you exclude all +1’s unless they’re engaged or married? You get the point.
Work together to figure out how you’ll address those topics you know that are going to come up so you have the same answer. This will prevent LOTS of drama, trust me. Luckily people are pretty predictable, so you probably have a good idea about what types of questions will come up (relationship status, parenthood, financial status, etc...), so do yourself a solid and figure out how you two will answer the hot topics and the holiday season will be easy breezy.
There’s a reason why there’s drama at family functions. We each have a tendency to revert back to who we were growing up. The dynamics of a family unit are tough to break, I guess! There was a social experiment done on this! Read more here!
So when the drama comes up, before reacting, breathe and remember that after the event, you won’t have to be all together again soon. Help each other out if it gets to that point by coming up with an excuse to breakaway. If you do have to see them again soon, wait until another day to address it when you’re calm and have had the time to process what happened.
Before walking into the party, decide how long you two will stay there or establish some kind of subtle bat signal to use to let each other know that it’s time to go. Talk to each other about what you each want to happen during your time there. Maybe you want to stick around to play games with your family and leave after a few rounds or you only want to stay until everyone’s done eating. Doing this will avoid having that awkward conversation that usually goes like….
Person A: “When do you want to leave?”
Person B: “Doesn’t matter” (Who really wants to leave right this second, but doesn’t want to sound like they don’t like being there.)
To sum it up, here are 4 ways you can get yourself operating as a solid team before going to family holidays:
Decide where you’ll spend the holidays
Have pre-planned responses
Know when to bite your tongue
Decide when it’s time to leave
Try these four things out and you’re sure to have a less stressful holiday season around your family!
As always, it’s best to be on the same page with your spouse. If the holidays makes you two grow distant because of the stress of everything, take time to reconnect! Learn more about how to reconnect by checking out this post!
P.S. Are you in need of some boundaries with your in laws? Read my post about how to respectfully put some in place!