Excerpt:  “Unlike holidays of Christmas past, when you’re decking the halls with the love of your life, the experience feels more magical and romantic. It also comes with more responsibility — not only are you managing your own expectations and social calendar, but you’re also navigating the careful compromise of spending a hectic season with another person.

The holiday season presents more opportunities to pause and express how grateful you are for the lucky lady in your life and cement your affection. Psychologists say Christmas can be a relationship game changer for many couples. “Celebrating holidays together is an important part of a relationship. It can help deepen the couple’s level of closeness and seriousness with each other,” explains Los Angeles-based psychologist, Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. “By partaking in holidays together, the couple can share each other’s traditions and important events together, increasing the quality of their bond.”

Here’s the best way to toast to the many years ahead, no matter how long you’ve been together or what December has in store for you and your families:

While you and your siblings might have gleefully opened a single gift on Christmas Eve before bidding good-night for Santa’s arrival, your partner’s family might have opted for a non-conformist type of gathering by hopping a flight to sandy beaches in lieu of snow-covered rooftops. One of the wonders — and difficulties — of joining two people, and their respective kin, together is that traditions start to shift.

Relationship counseling in Los Angeles is provided by Yvonne Thomas Ph.D. Read what she has to say on askmen.com’s “How To Plan Spending Christmas With Loved Ones.”