There is no doubt that the holidays bring with them a unique mixture of magic and chaos. The days of December are filled with coming together, cheering, giving and celebrating. They are also FULL of busy schedules that can feel like an endless cycle of getting ready and then picking up. Add to that travel, a house full of family, kids home from school, and out of town visitors, and it’s no wonder couples barely connect during this time of year.

If you are feeling like passing ships right now, here are three ways for the two of you to stay connected during the holiday chaos.

First, Let go of expectations together.

So often this time of year is filled with preset ideas about how things “should” happen. There are traditions that need to be kept, people we feel obliged to care for, a certain way we want the house to look, hopes for gift giving and receiving and all too often unrealistic visions of family harmony. When things don’t go as we had planned or our partner doesn’t show up the way we thought they should disappointment sets in fast.

Instead of getting caught in this trap, try to let it all go. The amazing thing about expectations is we create them in our own mind, which means we can uncreate them if they don’t serve us well. As long as there is no permanent damage done, how it was “suppose” to go down doesn’t matter anymore. Being able to look at each other and say “Oh well, that didn’t go the way we thought it would, but it’s all good” is a path to freedom together.

Second, Steal away for small private moments together.

While you are letting go of expectations, it can also be helpful to loosen up your idea of how you can connect intimately during this time. Based on how busy your schedule and household is you may find it difficult to maintain your usual sexual connection.

Instead of letting this season become a dry spell, be creative about quick moments to get it on together. Sneak into a closet or pantry, take a few more minutes to get ready in your room before going out or have a quick make-out session in the car before heading into a party. If you find an unexpected opportune moment, take it instead of filling it with a task on the long to-do list.

Third, Find the funny around you together.

Lots of togetherness can come with its own set of problems. Family members can get on your nerves, kids can be demanding and overwhelming, and you and your partner can end up taking these stresses out on each other. Instead of letting unavoidable tensions get the better of your relationship, try to find the humor in it all.

One of the best remedies for tension is laughter. And nothing brings you closer to someone than a good inside joke. Decide that you and your partner are going to help each other lighten up by looking for the funny in your circumstances. After all, once December is over, life will go back to normal, and if what you remember about the holidays was the chuckles you shared with the one you love the most you will have had great success.

Decide to put your relationship first this season by not letting the inevitable chaos undermine your partnership. By using these three simple tips, you will come out of the holidays feeling connected and closer.

Until we meet again—Love each other well

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