Why Everyone Fights with Their Partners during the Holidays

Tis the season – for fighting with your spouse. The holidays are stressful for Americans – one in five say they are “often” stressed during this time, and for couples, the holidays can be trying.

One major reason: The holidays spur a lot of issues over money. Indeed, 61 percent of consumers say that holiday spending causes marital or family strife. Even worse, holiday money fights aren’t always harmless. A study published in the journal Family Relationships found that financial disagreements did predict divorce more strongly than other common problem areas like disagreements over household tasks or spending time together-And research shows that divorce filings spike right after the holidays in January.

One of the biggest money issues that can cause couples to fight over the holidays is how much to spend on gifts. Just ask Carrie Paetow, who sometimes disagrees with her husband on gift spending. So this year, the couple had a fix for the issue: making a budget for each gift.

Experts say there are plenty of other strategies for avoiding holiday spending fights as well. Among them: Start saving as early as possible so you can avoid holiday debt – which can be a huge source of financial stress on couples – and consider sentimental gifts (think photos or handmade items) that don’t cost a ton so you can underspend on your per-gift budget. You should also consider doing a gift exchange with a group.

Finally, re-visit the budget the two of you agreed on and determine the consequences of not abiding by it. How will you feel when you get that credit card bill in January and you don’t have the money in your account to pay it?