How to stop arguing in a relationship this Christmas: 8 failsafe ways to avoid bickering

According to the experts.

A woman figuring out how to stop arguing in a relationship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Googling how to stop arguing in a relationship? It's a question we all find ourselves asking at some point, especially during the festive season. 

Some stats for you - half of Brits admit to arguing over the Christmas break, according to research by Thortful.

So, if you've had a fight with your partner and now you are wondering whether to quiet quit the relationship, put a halt on downloading the best sex apps because arguments are actually super common this time of year. 

Whether tensions rise about finding the perfect gift (FYI, you can never go wrong with sex toys for couples) or trying (and failing) to get on with the in-laws, you're not alone.

So, how do you deal with arguments becoming more frequent? Let our expert-led guide to how to stop arguing help. Here, two relationship experts share their guidance, plus the easiest ways to safeguard your relationship if trying to create the perfect Christmas has been an added strain.

So, why do couples argue more at Christmas?

Good question. It all starts with your expectation, share the experts. All the rom-com festive films and perfectly primed Instagram photos might have you expecting a day filled with love, laughter, and maybe even the best sex games if enough Champagne is flowing.

"During festive periods, there can be a lot of expectations and activities that divert us from our normal day-to-day life," relationship expert Ness Cooper tells us. 

This can become stressful, and when you are stressed what are you most likely to do? "You often take things out on those who are closest to you. It doesn’t make it right, but it’s often the go-to," relationship expert Sarah Louise Ryan, shares.

arguing at christmas

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Is it normal to be arguing more right now?

Short answer? Yes. "Couples can argue more due to how their normal routines are disrupted." On top of that, "there are not only hopes for making it perfect, but pressure from other family and peers to fulfil expectations to make this time of year magical," Cooper explains. 

Along with high expectations of what the holiday will entail, and the added family pressure, there is also "the extra financial burden, which can result in conflicts and worries," Cooper explains. 

This year, a Christmas during the cost of living crisis will likely increase the chance of financial worries. All of a sudden, your partner buying a luxury beauty giftthat they can't afford can turn into a full-blown argument.

"Try to find a different and more constructive outlet than arguing," Ryan advises. "It's just energy better spent."

Top tip: We all argue sometimes, but do try, where possible, to talk things through amicably, or take a bit of time to reflect on how best to discuss things with each other.

How to stop arguing in a relationship: 8 tips from the relationship pros

Christmas ruined by arguments and keen to re-connect and communicate better? Keep scrolling for Cooper and Ryan's top tips.

1. Keep some Christmas activities for just the two of you

Questioning whether you're selfish for not wanting to spend Christmas with your partner's family? Short answer: no. But if bickering about spending too much time with family members (and the pressure that brings) is getting too much, then it will serve you well to remember it is totally fine to do things just the two of you. 

While it's tempting to RSVP yes to every party and dinner, Cooper advises taking some time out. "Making sure that you and your partner are able to enjoy some festive time with just each other will help keep this time of year special for both of you," she shares. 

2. Don’t compete with presents

Being aware that financial worries can be the cause of many arguments is key here - it's time to let competing with the presents be a thing of Christmas past. 

Remember: "When giving gifts, it’s not how much someone spends on another that makes it special, but the meaning behind it. Competing on the price of Christmas presents can cause conflict and tension," Cooper shares. 

3. Share the festive tasks

Christmas takes a lot of planning - think presents, dinner, drinks and more. Know this: it's okay to ask for help from those around you. Relationships are all about teamwork, after all.

"If arranging Christmas feels a bit one-sided, see where you can step in more to help," shares Cooper. This not only will stop arguments and stress, she shares, but reduce tiredness, meaning you can put that extra energy towards other activities later on. 

4. Less overindulging, more loving

Trying to survive Christmas on a hangover is not ideal, especially with the festive anxiety that can come with it. 

"Too much drinking and too much food can both affect our judgment and performance." Planning on exploring in the bedroom this Christmas? "Then make sure you don’t overeat or drink beforehand so you both can fully enjoy it," Cooper suggests. 

On that note, if you weren't planning on it, Cooper suggests that maybe you should make time for intimacy.  In between scheduling festive events, family activities, and everything else to do with Christmas, sex can all too often be forgotten. "During this busy season, scheduling sex can help," she recommends.

5. Remember that your partner is your best friend

"So seek to treat them like that," Ryan recommends. 

Imagine what a dream spending Christmas with your best friend would be? She advises thinking about what words you use with other friends, focusing on the foundations of your friendship, and going from there. "That way, you can remember you are both on the same team," she shares.

6. Don't be jealous of other couples

Yes, everyone's Christmas looks perfect on social media. Remember this: people always share the highs, not the lows, most of the time. Social media can be an unrealistic highlight reel. 

That said, it can be easy to look at other couples' Christmases and feel theirs are better. "But while they may be different, one couple's Christmas is no better than another’s," Cooper shares. Stepping back and being mindful about your and your partner's Christmas can help you see that your Christmas is just as good as others.

7. Start to plan towards the future

Coming up to the end of the year is a great time to make plans for the year ahead on a personal level but also as a couple. 

Arguing a lot? It might be time to do some forward planning together and remind each other of how much you've got to look forward to. 

"Note down the things on your bucket lists and plan some fun and exciting experiences for the New Year," Ryan shares. "This will help bring the playfulness back into your relationship."

8. Learn your love languages

With all the extra time on your hands this festive break, instead of letting boredom lead to arguments, try and use the time to better understand each other.

How? Well, knowing how you both communicate your love and care for one another is crucial to understanding your relationship. "It could be acts of kindness, gift giving, words of affirmation, being tactile or even just spending quality time together," Ryan tells us.

Ally Head
Senior Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.

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