Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:16
It is no secret that the twinkle of Christmas lights is not always enough to create marital bliss during the holiday season. This time of year can be extra stressful. Schedules are usually a bit more full, the to-do list grows, and arrangements are made to spend extra time with family.
You may know triggers in your marriage that can easily cause strife. As we look towards Christmas, I encourage you to be intentional about putting some guardrails around your marriage so you and your spouse can go into the holidays with peace and focus on what really matters at Christmas, and that is Jesus.
Be honest with your spouse and yourself about your limitations.
I love to entertain at my home, but there have been times when the stress of getting the house cleaned up and food prepared sent my lousy attitude into overdrive. I was frustrated at myself, and my husband was frustrated because I wouldn’t be honest and ask for help. Look at your schedule for the next couple of weeks, sit down with your spouse, and talk about how you can get everything done together.
Talk about how much you will spend on the holidays.
It seems like most marriages are made up of a spender and a saver. Nothing can cause strife faster than the saver discovering hidden purchases or a high credit card bill they weren’t expecting. Finish this Christmas season by having a conversation about finances. Plan who you still need to shop for and how much you will spend. If your spouse has a different idea of what would be appropriate, talk it out, and don’t let the sensitive topic of money cause an unnecessary argument.
Find intentional ways to connect this season.
This may be your first Christmas since your marriage was restored or your tenth. It doesn’t matter. We always need to find ways to be intentional about connecting with our spouses. What new memories or traditions can you adopt? What special way can you and your spouse escape the holiday craziness and spend quality time together? Ask the Lord to give you a spirit that is open to change. There may be new traditions that you want to begin as you look at holidays differently since your marriage was restored.
Communicate – Communicate – Communicate!
This may shock you, but your spouse can’t read your mind. I know! I’m just as stunned at this revelation. All kidding aside, you can probably recall an incident that could have been avoided had a little more communication taken place. Understand that your spouse wants the best for you and your family this season. Talk with them about how you can make that happen. Don’t just surprise them with plans, but devise a strategy together.
Keep Jesus at the center of your celebration.
Don’t let the gift buying, cookie baking, and celebrations overshadow the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Ask God to give you unique opportunities to reflect on the most special gift He gave us through the birth of His son. He truly is the reason for the season!
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14