We’ve been there…
The first few years of our marriage I couldn’t stand this time of year, especially after our oldest was born. We argued majority of the month and by Christmas morning we barely spoke sometimes. It sucked. Sometimes you just need to know that another person has been in that place you may be, but it doesn’t have to be like that forever. These are tried and true 3 ways to not kill your marriage by Christmas from two people who enjoy the holidays now.
For us our main problem was: in trying to honor family traditions and do everything for everyone else, we had lost the joy of making the holidays our own. Blending cultures and expectations felt more like fake compromises and resentful giving in.
BUT there’s hope!
This isn’t a quick fix, but it’s a good starting point to get away from that cycle. Because we were always running and doing, most things during Christmas felt like a chore. Thankfully we’re much wiser, more patient, and engaged with our own family values in this season of marriage & parenthood.
I share that, because the holidays can be and are stressful. Even in a decent marriage you can feel alone and completely burdened. Yes, even during a time that should be merry, bright, and memorable.
So my hope is to share 3 simple ways of enjoying the season a little more.
- Find a Common Goal…as a TEAM: You and your spouse may not always see eye to eye, but you can find ONE goal to accomplish as a team. What’s your goal this holiday season? Is it to rest? Is it to stay on budget? Whatever it is, talk about it during a time you both are willing to commit to. Once you’ve agreed, stick with it and keep it simple! If your goal this year is for it to be perfect – take your healthy progress over perfection friend!
- Have a PLAN: I heard this multiple times at my bible study the other night and I will tell you it’s true. One major shift in our marriage over the years is we PLAN BETTER. Though I take the lead in keeping track of dates, I check in with Mike on what’s happening frequently. We’ve got about 2/3 calendars that we work from (I know repetition is our friend). For you it could be having a party calendar that hangs up in the kitchen. I realized when I stopped springing things up on Mike he was more apt to looking forward to events. Yep, I even do a plan for vacations, it used to annoy me – but now I see it’s purpose.
- Set ALONE TIME: Everyone handles stress differently, that’s really important to acknowledge. For me I’m really irritable, but I want to be held. For Mike he gets quiet, prefers a break, watching a movie, or reading. If you don’t take breaks alone AND together you’ll miss out the part of enjoying the season. For us we try and carve out coffee time after the kids go to bed or let one another go off and enjoy activities with friends or alone.
For us this year, the goal is to be content with who we are, enjoy what we have, and do enough to make some great memories. We loving share from our own journey of 8 years of marriage friends.