When you and your significant other spend your first holidays together, you’re going to find out how different some of your traditions are. They’ll be more pronounced if you come from different religions or cultures. But even if you have similar backgrounds, traditions may differ.
In some instances, traditions may not only be different, but they will also conflict with one another. Your families have different ways of doing things. And both of them want you to do it their way. Before you know it, your families will be like the Capulets and the Montagues. This will put a huge strain on your relationship. We all start out thinking that nothing, not even our families, can come between us. But they can, trust and believe that.
If you want to avoid all the unnecessary drama, try some of these tips:
- Don’t expect total surrender from your partner
Very often, the dominant partner will insist that things are done his/her way. Their family and its traditions take precedence over the non-dominant partner. Avoid doing this. All it does is strike a match that leads to a slow burn of resentment toward you and your family. A slow burn ultimately leads to a full-blown blaze, which could spell the end of your relationship.
- Look at it objectively
Think honestly about your holiday traditions. Some of them you may value deeply. Others may not be so important, or you might not like them at all. Be prepared to put those aside in favor of the traditions your partner values from his/her family. Try to find a balance where you both bring 50% of the traditions to the table.
- Find a way to combine them
The best thing about bringing traditions into a relationship is that you get to keep the best of both worlds. Then you can blend them together to create a new set of traditions that work for you. Later on, when you have children, you’ll pass those traditions to them. One day, when they enter a relationship, they’ll do exactly what you’ve done. They’ll take the traditions they value and combine them with the traditions their partner values.
- Bring your families in on it
Where you can, try to bring your families together to enjoy the new set of holiday traditions you’ve combined. It will mean a lot to both families to see that you’ve retained elements of your upbringing in creating your own traditions. This is not always possible. Sometimes, families can’t get along. They don’t have to. You and your partner have a relationship with each other and your families. But your families don’t have to be in a relationship with each other.
- Be prepared to compromise and sacrifice
If you’re going to spend the holidays with your partner’s family, you’ll have to follow traditions that you don’t like or appreciate. But bear in mind that joining in will mean a great deal to your partner. If a bit of sacrifice is not going to compromise your core beliefs and morals, do it.
It creates a lot of goodwill currency on your behalf for your partner and his/her family. So, if you have to wear a Christmas jumper for the family photograph, do it. Sure, you might feel a bit silly, but it will show your partner you embrace him/her and where he/she comes from. It will encourage your partner to do the same when he/she spends the holidays with your family.
- Proximity matters
If your families live near to each other, you will most likely divide your time between them over the holidays. If they stay far away, it’s probable that you’ll alternate years and holidays so that everyone feels included in your lives. But don’t do this to the detriment of your relationship. Remember, your family is important, but it can’t dictate your relationship with your partner.