Family traditions give us a sense of deep connection that comes from the feeling of belonging to a larger group of people.  They mark time and allow us to look back to passed` times of goodness, revel in the present expression of the tradition, and anticipate future moments when the tradition happens again.  Family traditions are especially important during the holiday season.  

In a couple relationship there is wonderful opportunity to continue the traditions of old and to begin to shape new traditions that fit your particular couple story.  So, how do you hold onto the important aspects of your individual family traditions and create new traditions together as a couple?  Here’s 4 quick tips that can help you get started: 

  1. Reflect.  Take the time to reflect on your past individual stories of holidays.  Really take the time to experience them.  What were they like growing up?  Who was there?  Who wasn’t there?  What was special?  What didn’t you like?  
  2. Be Curious.  After your partner has also reflected, share with one another.  Don’t assume you either one know anything about the other’s stories and share with them as if it’s the first time they have ever heard any of it.  Try to get into your partners experience as much as possible.  
  3. Reflect together.  Discuss what your shared holidays have been like.  (And if this is your first holiday together discuss your expectations, fears, hopes.)   Where have you gone?  How has it gone?  Have you both felt respected by your partner in the midst of it all?  Have your been able to be who you want to be in the midst of family?  Always, be curious and kind with one another as you share and as you listen.  
  4. Set a vision.  What things you would like to be the same and what things would you like to see change this holiday?  Ask for what you would like and be flexible.  And listen to what your partner would like and be flexible. As always keep in mind how our own stories and our partner’s stories are shaping our expectations, hopes, and desires.  

This holiday season you and your partner have a magnificent opportunity to create a couple story that reflects who you want to be during the holidays.  Take some time and create what your traditions will be.