By Dr. Tranquility — Lydia Belton, PhD, Ct. H.A.

November is a great time to nail down all of your holiday plans, especially if you’re in a newer relationship, like Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling. Will you spend these special days together? If so, where? If you have been together for a while, like Evan Rachel Wood and Jamie Bell, will you be with family? If so, which one and on which holiday? These seem like very simple decisions, but it they can make for some serious arguments  if not addressed and handled properly. Before you get overwhelmed with too many questions, here are three easy ways to keep your relationship stress-free during the holidays:

Related: Three’s a Crowd: Four Perfect Couples Holidays

Step 1: Meeting the family. Family can be stressful under the best of circumstances for all of us, especially during the holidays. One key to your relationship surviving is being respectful and supportive of each other while spending time with each other’s family. Remember, you are potentially starting a life together. Thus, these people may remain in your life for quite a long time. The good news is that holidays are technically only three days out of the year; so it’s time to buck up, babes, and have fun!

Step 2: Healthy Boundaries. The holidays are a time to be social and celebrate, especially when it comes to New Year’s Eve. Before entering this time together, it is a good idea to set up behavioral boundaries and be clear about what exactly that means. This time of year, more than any other, is when “champagne” tends to flow, making it easier for tempers to flare. Therefore, strong healthy boundaries and an open dialogue are vital for tranquility.

Related: Date Idea: Document The Romance With A Flash

Step 3: Bonding While Giving. The holidays are meant to be a time for meaningful bonding. Yet for some, they can also be a lonely and difficult time. A wonderful way to create unity is by volunteering your time as a couple. While you may not be like Lady Gaga, who generously donated a million dollars, or Rihanna, who kindly donated 1000 sleeping bags, but your time is equally as important and needed. With all of the recent disasters caused by Hurricane Sandy, volunteering together at food banks, senior citizen centers, homeless charities or at one of the many disaster locations allows you the opportunity to accomplish two things at once; 1) it is a way for you to connect to your community, and 2)  strengthen your relationship. This Thanksgiving, why not truly stand in gratitude? In the end, you and your partner will feel better about doing so and have heartfelt memories to share in the future.

No matter what you and your mate decide for this holiday season, remember what is most important: your love for each other. Keeping this as the top priority will ensure that your relationship will survive well past the New Year. From my heart to yours, have a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season!

The holidays are a wonderful time of year. Developed by Lydia Belton PhD, Ct.H.A. of DrTranquility.com, Date Therapy® is an effective protocol that helps people get in touch with their criteria for an ideal mate. DrTranquility’s protocols® have been featured most recently on Forbes.com & Yahoo, ABCNEWS.com, ABC’s the View, KISS FM, CupidsPulse.com, Metromix for the Chicago Tribune, British Glamour, REDBOOK, Cosmopolitan Magazine & promoted by Match.com.