The holiday rush is upon us. And you want the holiday to be special for your partner and for everyone else important in your life. You probably have high expectations—make it magical for your children, accommodate those out-of-town guests seamlessly, uphold traditions to please grandparents. Other priorities take over and pretty soon your partner gets lost in the shuffle.

That’s just when you need your partner the most. But you’re both stressed and your partner can’t pick up the slack for you like he usually does when you’re maxed out. Because he’s maxed out, too. And neither of you has an ounce of energy left over. You’re both pulled in several directions at once.

It’s frustrating, and it’s tempting to take it out on the person close at hand—your partner. Resist the temptation. Remember you’re a couple for a reason. When you pull together you can conquer issues that crop up during the holidays and threaten to undermine your relationship. Here are some things to watch for:

  1. Money. You like to lavish friends and family with gifts. And, okay, maybe you’re a little over-the-top sometimes. Your partner stresses out when the checking account is strained and he’s constantly online making sure you’re not overdrawn. You can tone it down for the sake of your partner. Even if you think his worry is unwarranted, he still has the worry. And you can help him by reassuring him that you really are sticking to the budget this year. A budget that you have mutually devised BEFORE the holiday season began.
  2. Logistics. You have to be multiple places at once. And so does your partner. You feel obligated to see his divorced parents separately, your grandparents, his special aunt and on and on. Stop. You may not be able to see everyone every year. Or you may have to visit another time, just not on the special day. Devise a plan you both think is fair as a couple and try not to worry about what everyone else thinks about it.
  3. Scheduling. There will be some times when you’re not so completely overloaded that you can take time out to help your partner. Make the first overture in the holiday spirit. When you see he’s stressed to the limit, ask to see his “to-do” list and take on what you can. You may be able to coordinate efforts. If he has to go to the post office to get stamps and you have to go to the mall next door to pick up a gift, well, find a way to work together. That’s what being a couple is all about.
  4. Date night. Of course you’re super busy, but his is not time to let date night slide. In fact, this is a time to plan an extra special date night to enjoy the holiday with your significant other. To savor some quiet time together, to reflect on the joys of the season and to enjoy each other’s company.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: