A Bend Marriage Counselor Offers Holiday Relationship Help

December 18, 2014 by

For some of us, the holiday season is the happiest time of the year. It’s a time for family and friends to come together and appreciate each other while laughing over old memories and creating new ones.

Many others, though, experience the holidays as something extremely painful. For survivors of trauma or for anyone who has lost a loved one, the holidays can be the most difficult time of the year. This can be hard not only on the suffering individual, but also on those who love them and are forced to watch them struggle while feeling like they aren’t able to offer any help or comfort.

If your partner is having a difficult time during the holidays this year, there are a number of steps you can take to help them through it.

  1. Ask them about it. Even though it can be awkward and difficult to broach subjects that cause pain, simply inviting an opportunity for communication can be a huge help. You definitely shouldn’t push, but let your partner know that you are there for them if they need it.
  2. Be sensitive. Don’t overdo it here—no one wants to feel like his or her loved ones are walking on eggshells around them. Just bear in mind that things that seem simple to you may have whole other meanings—potentially painful ones—to your partner.
  3. Love them. Above all other things, be supportive. You are your spouse’s number one support system, and your love and encouragement has the potential to make a world of difference.
  4. Forgive. Sometimes when people are struggling to overcome painful memories or feelings, they react by lashing out at those closest to them. While you certainly shouldn’t simply accept this kind of behavior, especially if it continues for any length of time, it’s also important to remember that they might be treating you badly because of what they’re going through.

For people who have only ever seen the holidays as times of joy and wonder, it can be hard to understand just how difficult this season can be for those reliving traumas. It’s most important to simply understand that your partner’s pain is real and significant. And though these feelings may be foreign to you, if your spouse is suffering this holiday season, there are steps you can take to help. For more advice or help this season, contact Bend marriage counselor, Tim Higdon.