The holiday season can add a lot of stress to your marriage. Time and money pressures build up. Some relatives you may only have to deal with at this time of year. Your marriage at Christmas can experience plenty of pressure. And it can also be filled and renewed.
In the midst of holiday decorating, special church services, purchasing gifts, planning travel or preparing for houseguests, the seemingly small irritations you may be able to overlook at other times can flare up into big fights. It’s easy to focus so much on the doing that being together is pushed aside.
The first Christmas was not a time of parties and gifts. It was a difficult time, filled with danger, fatigue, pain – and new life. The birth of the Baby Jesus on the first Christmas was God coming to be With Us (Emmanuel) even in the middle of our mess, and to make a different future possible.
Don’t let this season pass without embracing that for your marriage. God With Us is what your marriage needs. Without that, at best you’ll survive in some kind of superficiality or miserable détente. But with Him, growth and intimacy and love become possible.
Here are a few suggestions about how to embrace that this Christmas season.
Plan Time to BE
Activity does not equal meaning, or even celebration. Kids or no kids, plan time for you and your spouse to be together during this time. At least a couple times, and preferably many times, do something special just for the two of you.
Perhaps that’s an evening in front of the fire with the TV off, reflecting on how God has blessed you this year. Perhaps it’s a drive to look at the holiday lights, a special concert you attend together, or together helping someone in need. Some of your times of “being” will involve kids if you have them, but make sure at least a few of these times are just for the two of you.
Don’t engage in activities or traditions simply because you’ve always done so. Be choosy about what you say Yes to. Make sure what you do brings meaning – and Jesus – into the season.
Many people give gifts at Christmas. Whether or not that’s part of your practice, make sure you give the gift of yourself this season.
Think about what your spouse finds most meaningful, what would help them feel loved and cherished. Don’t assume their love language is the same as yours. Consider how you can pursue your spouse’s heart during this Christmas season. Perhaps that means planning to do something special together. It may be time together in intimate conversation. Or perhaps it’s help with practical things, or a letter you write from the heart. Whatever it is, give your spouse the gift of yourself.
And then give of yourselves as a couple. Perhaps that means volunteering somewhere together, or inviting someone or several someones to your home who could never invite you back. Let God bless others through whatever strengths you do have together as a couple.
Invite God’s Presence
Make sure to invite God’s presence into your Christmas season. During at least some of your times being together as a couple, verbally pray for God to be present. Invite Jesus to be born anew in the middle of your marriage. See yourselves as making room for Him in your home, your relationship.
And then invest in whatever reminds you regularly that this is the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Devote some of your Christmas decorations and music to whatever reminds you of the first Christmas. Go to church together for the special service. Read the Christmas story out loud together.
Your marriage at Christmas can be a time when God blesses you in a special way. Invite Him to do so.
Your Turn: What traditions around Christmas that invite Jesus to be present do you enjoy? How can you invite Him to be in the middle of your marriage in a special way this season?
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- Will this be a merry married Christmas for you? Rather than giving in to the stress, take time to BE together with your spouse, and then give of yourself – individually and together, during this season. Tweet that.
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