Top five reasons why couples argue (especially at Christmas)

It’s the time of year when families of all types are often thrown together, and that includes couples that may not see each other for long periods during the working week.  Suddenly, you and your partner have a whole week (potentially) away from work, with a social calendar that’s definitely out of the ordinary, and a virtual license to eat and drink non-stop!


man woman back to backAs a result couples may also find themselves arguing more at Christmas time than other times of the year. This isn’t necessarily a sign of marital or deep relationship troubles, as all couples argue at some point. According to personal counsellor Rachel Eddins, five of the top reasons that couple argue are:


1. Money

If you and your spouse have different attitudes to money, chances are the spending at Christmas will bring those differences to a head at some point. One solution might be to discuss a budget right now to establish a unified approach, which in turn could avoid more arguments in the New Year when the credit card bills arrive.


2. Shared Responsibility

Most couples have defined areas of responsibility already, but sometimes it’s tempting to change these around at Christmas. However, if one spouse suddenly expects the other to become a Nigella or Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen overnight, or that the person who cleans the home more often is just fine doing it all holiday long, it can lead to conflict. One of the key issues for modern families where parents live apart might be the shared responsibility of children over the holiday period, and again it’s a case of planning in advance.


3. Miscommunications

If you sometimes think your partner doesn’t listen to a word you say, it could be more to do with miscommunication. Shouting at the other half that they need to collect the turkey, just as they are dragged out the door by three hyper-exciting kids on their way to see Santa, is perhaps not the best communication method.


4. Not feeling appreciated

At Christmas, it’s so easy to let resentments build over not being thanked for cooking non-stop for a week, or not acknowledging the stress of fetching and carrying ageing relatives from all over the UK. A little thanks can go a long way. After all, as Eddins says in her article “Much of what you do is at least partially for the benefit of your partner.”


5. Exhaustion

Sometimes, Christmas can seem move like a marathon than a holiday. You may be tired from the rush at work to get everything completed by the end of December, the kids will be tired from a long autumn term, and you’re both mentally tired by the sheer effort involved in getting everything ready. When we are tired, it’s all too easy to let tiny issues blow into major rows.


One more thing…

We’d like to add one more of our own to this argumentative list: emotional and social pressure to be relentlessly jolly! Everyone needs some downtime and a little personal space at some point during the holiday season, so if you feel you are about to hurl the sprouts at your spouse (again), take a few minutes out. Many couples have diverse interests and friends, so make sure you take a little time to do what you enjoy, both together and separately.


Christmas was the last straw…

Sadly, we do recognise that for some couples, Christmas is the catalyst for an irrevocable breakdown, or the inevitable end to a marriage already damaged beyond repair. If you emerge from the festivities this year as a strong, better couple, then we couldn’t be more delighted. If however, you emerge with the realisation that your marriage or relationship is ending, call us. We offer a free 30-minute consultation session to discuss your particular situation, and advise on the best way forward for your particular circumstances.