The aftermath of holiday spending can be a major source of tension and conflict for couples, especially if the couple has different ideas about how much to spend or how to budget for the season.
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the financial aftermath of all the spending. If you and your partner find yourselves in this situation, there are steps you can take to get back on track and regain control of your finances.

One helpful approach for couples facing these challenges is the Gottman Couples Method, which is a research-based approach to improving relationships and communication. Developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, this method focuses on understanding and managing emotions, building and maintaining friendship and intimacy, and creating a sense of shared meaning and purpose.


Here are some specific strategies from the Gottman Couples Method that can be helpful for couples dealing with the aftermath of holiday spending and recommitting to financial goals that provide stability and help build dreams:

Practice active listening. This means fully engaging with your partner, paying attention to what they are saying, and showing understanding and empathy. When you’re discussing holiday spending, try to really understand where your partner is coming from and what their concerns and priorities are.

Use “I” statements. The stress of financial recalibration can exacerbate existing financial and relationship issues, making it more important than ever to find ways to communicate effectively. Instead of saying “you always overspend,” try saying “I feel worried when we spend more than we can afford.” This helps to express your own feelings and concerns without accusing your partner of wrongdoing.

Take breaks and cool down. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or emotionally charged, it can be helpful to take a break and come back to the conversation when you’re both feeling more level-headed.
Seek compromise. Try to find a solution that works for both of you. This might involve setting a budget and sticking to it or holding back on luxuries or larger expenditures until holiday expenses have been paid.


In addition to these Gottman Couples Method strategies, it can be helpful to seek out financial advice from experts. One I’ve always liked, in part because of her journey to success and her stance as a woman, but mostly because of her practicality is Suze Orman.

Orman is a well-known personal finance expert and television host who offers practical and actionable advice for managing money. Here are a few pieces of financial advice from Orman that can be helpful for couples dealing with holiday spending:

Set a budget. It’s a good idea to review your holiday spending and make a plan to pay off any debts or bills as soon as possible. Consider your overall financial situation and make sure that while you’re addressing holiday debt committedly, you’re also updating and reassessing monthly expenses for 2023.

Make a list and check it twice. Write down all of your monthly expenses, including gifts, travel, debt reduction, and any other expenses. This can help you see where your money is going and identify areas where you might be able to cut back.

Shop smart. When it comes to necessities, prices are up, but look for post-holiday sales and discounts. You can also try negotiating prices or using cashback or reward programs to save money.
Use credit wisely. Pay off credit card balances as soon as possible. Avoid carrying a balance from month to month, as this can quickly add up and become unaffordable. Use debt reduction as an incentive for your next financial goal (“once we pay off x, we can look at y”).

Communicate openly and honestly. Talk openly about your financial goals and concerns, and be honest about what you see from your holiday spending about what you can and cannot afford.


Finally, don’t be too hard on yourselves if you overspent during the holidays. It’s important to remember that everyone makes mistakes and it’s never too late to make positive changes. By using the Gottman Couples Method and seeking out financial advice and resources, you and your partner can work together to get back on track and build a healthy financial foundation for the year ahead.

Don’t let financial squabbles start you off on the wrong foot in 2023. Financial issues are common themes in couples therapy and I welcome being of service in helping you and your beloved get back on track. Please call me at 954.247.8120 or go to and schedule a free 15 minute consultation to see if we are a fit to work together.


Comments are closed

Recent Comments