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New Year, New Love: Overcoming the Top Challenges Couples Encounter in January [2024]

Updated: Jan 16

The new year is usually challenging for most couples for various reasons. Adjusting to the steady routine after the bustling holiday season could prove difficult. Some couples may even begin to question the relationship altogether. “Should I be with this person? Are we headed in the right direction?”, are some of the questions you may have asked yourself. Be rest assured that it’s normal to feel that way at this time of the year. If you’re experiencing unusual amounts of stress in this season, it’s probably because of these issues.  There are ways to deal with them and the first step is to know exactly what you’re dealing with. While challenges in relationships can vary widely, some common issues that couples may face at the beginning of the year include:



 

1. New Year's Resolutions

You’re probably familiar with the “new year, new me” mindset by now. It’s widespread for people to aim high at the beginning of the year. The tendency is to set unrealistic goals. It becomes particularly problematic if one partner sets a goal that completely goes against the couple’s routine. Or they could each set goals that are opposed. Such goals could be: Traveling abroad to pursue studies, going on a mission trip, relocating to a new country, and more. If one or both partners set ambitious New Year's resolutions, it can create stress and tension if they struggle to meet their goals. This can be compounded if the resolutions are related to personal habits or lifestyle changes that impact the relationship.



 

2. Financial Stress

The holiday season often involves increased spending, and couples may face financial stress as they deal with the aftermath of holiday expenses. Moreso couples may not agree on spending during the holidays. Opposites usually attract and spenders tend to marry savers. While the spender wants to flex during the holidays, the saver is thinking of saving for rainy days. If they’re not careful, these differences could drive a wedge between them. Communication and compromise are necessary for them to find common ground. Budgeting and financial planning also become important to avoid conflicts over money.




 

3. Post-Holiday Blues

After the excitement, partying, feasting, outings, vacations, and more of the holiday season, some individuals may experience a post-holiday slump. It’s normal to be exhausted after exerting that much energy. Moving from excitement to mundane is boring. Adjusting back to regular routines and responsibilities can be challenging and much less fun. This adjustment period may affect the dynamics of the relationship.

 

4. Family Expectations

Family gatherings during the holidays can bring about issues, especially if couples have different expectations or if there are conflicts with extended family members. Food is generally used as a distraction to deal with family issues. When that uncle, aunt, or cousin that you had a serious issue with shows up, instead of addressing the Elephant in the room, it’s easier to just eat and forget about it. At least until the next holiday season. When food is used as a drug, obesity is the side effect. Navigating family dynamics can be stressful, particularly if couples spend the holidays with each other's families.




 

5. Communication Breakdowns

Miscommunication or unmet expectations during the holiday season can carry over into the new year. We can easily get distracted by the celebrations and avoid dealing with our issues. Couples need to communicate openly and address any unresolved issues to prevent lingering resentment. Overcoming the Top Challenges Couples Encounter

 

6. Workload and Stress

The beginning of the year often coincides with increased workloads and responsibilities, which can contribute to stress within the relationship. Balancing career demands with personal time becomes crucial during this period. It’s important to revisit our priorities and intentionally set time aside for connecting with your spouse/partner. The more we advance in life, the busier we get and so we can’t leave spending quality time to chance. We need to be intentional about planning date nights, romantic weekends, and vacations. A good rule to follow is the 2/2/2 rule which is: Every two weeks, go on a date, every two months go for a weekend getaway, and every two years, go for a vacation for at least a week. Doing this consistently will keep the flame burning and build intimacy with your spouse. Overcoming the Top Challenges Couples Encounter



 

7. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

In some regions, the winter months can bring about Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that occurs at a specific time of year, usually in the winter which happens to be at the beginning of the year. The shorter days and longer nights during winter could trigger a chemical change in the brain leading to depression. This can impact mood and energy levels, potentially affecting the relationship. If not treated, it could last weeks, months, or years, which is unhealthy for any relationship. If one partner is depressed, it affects the other. SAD can be treated using light therapy and antidepressants. Consult a healthcare provider if you ever feel depressed or consider talking to a therapist.



 

8. Reevaluating the Relationship

The start of a new year often prompts individuals to reflect on their lives and relationships. Some couples may find themselves reevaluating their goals, values, and the direction of their relationship, which can lead to difficult conversations. It’s normal for couples to experience relational ambivalence during this period. They wonder: “Should I stay, or should I go?” The best way to deal with this and make the right decision is to pray about it and seek advice from a trusted third party such as your Pastor or Mentor. Similarly, you could also go to a therapist or counselor to get a piece of unbiased advice on the circumstances. To learn more about dealing with relational ambivalence, read THIS article.



 

If you relate to the above challenges, you’re not alone. These are issues that most couples deal with from time to time. To navigate these challenges, open communication, mutual understanding, and a willingness to work together are key. A lot of issues and misunderstandings can be solved through open communication. Communication is not as easy as we like to think. Being a good communicator requires intentionality. Moreover, you need to speak a language that your partner understands. You need to speak your partner’s love language. To learn more about love languages, check out THIS article. Couples should also consider seeking professional guidance from our certified relationship coaches if they find it challenging to address issues on their own. You can get started for FREE today by clicking the link below.



We’re looking forward to meeting you. Thank you for reading and I hope you were enriched through this. Do well to share to bless your family and friends. Also, SUBSCRIBE to our channel for more content on love, relationships, and marriage. Until next time, remain blessed.





Overcoming the Top Challenges Couples Encounter


8. Reevaluating Overcoming the Top Challenges Couples Encounter

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