Finding Sexy During the Holidays

Posted by Beth Darling on Dec 21st 2023

Finding Sexy During the Holidays

Dear Beth,

My wife goes overboard with holiday planning and then is “too tired” for sex which gets me mad so we end up fighting. What should I do?

Frustrated Fred

Dear Frustrated,

It sounds like the holidays are turning into a bit of a stress-fest in your house, huh? I get it. It sucks when the holiday season, which is meant to be a time of joy and togetherness, instead creates stress and discord. Especially because your wife's commitment to holiday planning likely stems from a place of love and a desire to create a “perfect” experience for everyone involved. I admire her dedication and encourage you to acknowledge her efforts and hard work. The saddest part to me is that your wife is probably frustrated in her own way which likely sucks all the pleasure and sense of accomplishment out, leaving her completely depleted mentally and physically.

That said, your feelings of disappointment and frustration are valid too. The essence of holidays is not just in the preparation but in the enjoyment and the shared experiences with loved ones, including each other.

Here’s my ask of you: Are you willing to forego the argument about how much planning is necessary vs. how she goes “overboard”?

Because, I think the only happy way through this issue is for you to accept that my opinion doesn’t mean squat. And your opinion means only as much as your wife’s. In other words, you can argue forever about what “should be”, or you can focus on finding a mutually agreeable way forward that brings you closer instead of tearing you apart.

I’m gonna take a leap and guess that you’ve probably tried telling your wife things along the lines of “That’s not a big deal”, “It doesn’t matter if we don’t have lights all the way around the rooftop”, or “You shouldn’t worry so much”. Sadly, these are probably the worst things you could say. Why? Because they imply that the way you think is “right” and she is “wrong”. I can pretty much guarantee that trying to prove who’s right is a losing proposition in almost every situation.

Which is why I think your best bet is to follow my usual recommendation: approach the issue with kindness, curiosity and generosity. In other words, leave judgment and your own feelings aside for the moment and start asking open-ended questions so you both have a chance to better understand and resolve her feelings around this issue. I suggest you start with questions such as: Why does she think holiday planning is so important? What does she hope will happen if she does it perfectly? What does she worry will happen if she doesn’t? Is she afraid of others judging her? Is she trying to improve upon what she grew up with? What parts does she like? What does she hate? How would she like to feel about it? What would she like you to do or help with?

When you have a clear understanding of why she’s caught up in this cycle, you can share your own perspective on similar questions. Then it shouldn’t be hard to forge a new path forward that satisfies both of you. Perhaps she’ll agree to adjust her expectations, or to create a plan together. Maybe you promise her daily foot massages, hire help, cover other chores to make it easier for her to do holiday things or simply agree to carve out planned dates nights in the middle of the month before things get too busy.

There’s no shortage of ways to cooperate as long as the results are a win/win rather than a win/lose. Wishing you joy, love and mutual satisfaction,