How to Navigate the Holidays with your In-Laws

If you’re anxious about spending time with your in-laws, you’re not alone.

Whether your relationship is tense because of past disagreements or you’re nervous about seeing extended family for the first time since the start of the pandemic, it’s important that you and your partner are on the same page about how to navigate the holidays with your in-laws.

Dr. John Gottman explains that “every [relationship] is a cross-cultural experience regardless of whether people are from different or the same cultures. They come from different families and the family they create is a brand new culture that has never existed before.”

The holidays can bring mixed feelings and expectations about your unique family culture, especially when it comes to in-laws. Handle uncomfortable situations together with confidence while maintaining respect and open communication with these tips from the Gottman Relationship Blog:

Making the Holidays Special with Advice from The Gottman Institute

The holidays can be a time to celebrate togetherness with family and friends. However, it’s a busy season that can also include a lot of tasks like shopping and decorating that make quality time as a couple difficult to prioritize.

One way to ensure you and your partner make time for one another is to be intentional about it. Try creating an illustration with each of your individual plans on either side and the plans you both would like to make time for in the center (like a Venn Diagram). Keep it visible in a place that you both pass by often (such as the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, etc.) as a reminder of how you will make space for each other to tackle the things you want to do separately and the special moments of connection you’d like to make possible together.

Make the holidays a time for creating shared meaning together as well as meeting your individual wants and needs. The support you give your joint activities and each other’s listed plans can make all the difference.

Discover more ways to stay connected and fill your holidays with romance on the Gottman Relationship Blog: