When Thanksgiving Increases Marital Conflict

When Thanksgiving Increases Marital Conflict1 min read

By Jon Beaty

November 16, 2018

conflict, thanksgiving, holidays

My wife and I have had our share of marital conflict around Thanksgiving Day. The conflict was usually around where to celebrate the holiday.

It’s not unusual for couples to have conflicts over this.

One partner wants to celebrate the holiday with her family, and he wants to celebrate with his.

Or, one partner wants to stay home and have a small and quiet celebration, the other wants to go to a large, family gathering.

What we want arises from three basic needs:

  1. The need to feel valued
  2. The need to feel like we belong
  3. The need for feeling safe and secure

Often, what satisfies these needs is different for each spouse or generates conflict between spouses.

A strong, satisfying relationship is built on partners valuing each other above all others. Part of valuing each other is to respect each other’s basic needs.

When conflict arises over holiday preferences, recognize it as an opportunity to step back and to take time to understand each other’s needs and how those needs get met.

And when you’re together with family and friends, remember that you belong to each other. You’re a team.

A spouse who criticizes their partner in front of family and friends never looks good.

Express your fondness and appreciation for your team-mate in front of others. You’ll help your partner feel safe and secure in your relationship. You’ll sleep better. And you’ll be grateful for each other’s companionship when Thanksgiving is over.

What do Do When #Thanksgiving Increases Marital Conflict...  #marriage

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About the author

I'm a counselor, writer and believer in the power of God to help you thrive in your marriage and family. I live with my family, a small herd of Boer goats, and thousands of honeybees near Portland, Oregon.

  • Hi, Jon, I was just writing a blog post on marital conflict during the holidays and in looking for resources came upon your post from 2017 on the Gottman Institute Blog. What great advice and so solid. I’m glad I discovered your own blog and hope to keep following. Jule

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