Abiola Abrams is a love columnist, peer educator, and certified life coach. Abiola is also the founder of the award-winning women's lifestyle site The Passionista Playbook and hosts the hit web video series "Abiola's Kiss and Tell TV."
Your first holiday season as a married couple is an exciting time. After all, you've already been through a great deal together. Out of billions of people of the planet, you somehow found each other, love each other, and have committed for a lifetime. That's nothing short of a miracle.
Even though being a newlywed is a period of celebration, I receive many letters of frustration around the holidays. As a life coach and relationship expert, I find that this crucial time can bring you closer as a couple, or seed resentments.
As newlyweds, you're figuring out how your individual customs, rituals, and celebrations will work together. For some, this is a deeply religious time. Others take a secular approach. Your family may have reveled in the materialism of this time of year, rising early for Black Friday deals. Your partner's parents may have raised him to be staunchly opposed to gift giving on some social principal you've never even heard of.
Even if you and your Dear Husband come to an agreement on traditions, there are now in-laws to contend with, making the holidays a minefield. Yes, the opinions of your family can cause World War III, as each family may be eagerly anticipating the honor of hosting the newlyweds for the holidays.
How do you minimize the drama of where to spend the holidays?
Bring them to you.
The best way to avoid the whole "where will we go" fight is by inviting both families to you. If you want to host your first holiday as a newlywed, who would deny you that? This way, there's no deciding where to go. His sensitive Auntie Kenya doesn't have to get miffed that her nephew will miss her sweet potato pie, and your mom won't be in a fit about her skipped curry chicken.
Hang out with both families.
Spending time with both families is the best move for family politics, if you can swing it. If both families live in the same city, perhaps you can do a holiday brunch with one family and dinner with the other. It might even be OK to spend a little more time with your family instead of his, too. A new study suggests that your hubby spending time with your parents can actually help your marriage.
Compromise and alternate.
Each year, alternate where you go. This year, his family gets the big day. Next year, it's all yours. You can also alternate the holidays themselves. Maybe spend Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with your family. Then next year, host Thanksgiving with your family and then have Santa visit at your husband's childhood home.
The passionate choice.
Instead of making the holidays a battlefield, make them a key brick in the foundation of your relationship. A happy marriage is built in the tiny moments. If your spouse is reluctant to participate in all of your family's jubilee, try not to take it personally. The holidays don't share the same meaning for everyone. Be aware of the difference between someone's actual behavior and what you're making their actions mean.
Most of all, remember that this time of year is about love, compassion, and family. As long as you have each other, nothing else matters.
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