MIAMI, FL (October 6, 2013) — With the holiday season fast approaching along with fresh hopes for 2014, many couples find stress building up just as they are getting ready to kick off their shoes to relax and celebrate.
Whether preparing for Al Hijra, Ashura, Hanukkah, the Birthday of Guru Nanak, Winter Solstice, Christmas or Kwanzaa — regardless of faith (or none at all) — holiday stress in the best of times can be testing to even the strongest relationships and an end of the year bummer for many others.
Relationship pros say good intentions alone will do about as much good as an email greeting card when it comes to buttressing your love life against holiday stress.
PAIRS Foundation, a long-time industry leader in marriage and relationship education, sees booming traffic to the group’s social media and web pages as a sign more people are looking to put time and energy into their relationships.
The nonprofit’s CEO, Seth Eisenberg, said since providing free online access to many of the company’s proprietary, evidence-based relationship skills exercises last month, the group gained more than 20,000 new Facebook followers and as many as 5,000 visitors a day to the company’s websites — nearly a ten-fold increase from a year ago.
“We’ve been especially surprised to see tens of thousands of visitors from the Middle East,” said Dr. Sam Wakim, a director of the foundation. Dr. Wakim credits the increased interest from the region to broader access to social media, a liberalization of openness to develop and enhance interpersonal skills, as well as “a hunger from people — young people especially — to strengthen their relationships when surrounded by chaos and uncertainty.”
Eisenberg said irrespective of ethnicity, religion, culture, and geography, the best relationship advice for couples is to make time for each other. Eisenberg points to the universal popularity of PAIRS Daily Temperature Reading exercise that suggests five steps couples and families can do each day to strengthen their bonds, beginning with appreciating each other and ending with exchanging wishes, hopes and dreams.
While few could argue against the value of regular affirmations, relationship pros say pent-up feelings of anger, sadness, frustration and disappointment can get in the way.
“Learning to become comfortable expressing the full range of emotions is key to feeling love and being able to think clearly,” Eisenberg stressed. Some of the online exercises offered by the foundation help visitors “empty their emotional jugs,” reconsider early life messages and lessons, and become comfortable confiding both happy and upsetting memories.
If the experts are right, it may turn out the best holiday gift this year isn’t online or at the mall, but a stronger, more loving relationship with the people closest to you. And with web-based relationship skills training taking off, turning holiday stress into relationship bliss could become just a click away.