By Ashleigh Slater, Crosswalk.com
When it comes to the joy and the stress of the holidays, how do you and your spouse approach it? As a united team? Or do tinsel, gift giving, and extended family get-togethers turn you against each other?
If you and your spouse are struggling to face the holidays together, here are 5 ways you can navigate the season hand-in-hand rather than back-to-back.
1. Set Expectations Together
As a couple, what do you want this holiday season to be like? It could be you prefer relaxed and simple. Or perhaps you enjoy lots of traditions and activity. Take the time to talk about this in advance and determine together what your holiday expectations are as a couple. This can include how much you’ll spend on gifts, where you’ll celebrate, and even what’s on the menu. For some husbands and wives, it may be easy to agree. For others though, it’ll mean being willing to compromise in order to find a happy medium.
2. Spend Dedicated Time Together
In the craziness of the holidays, don’t forfeit time with each other. Schedule date nights in advance and then stick to them. Be committed to them just like you would an office party or an extended family dinner. Time together will make sure that you stay connected in the hustle and bustle of the season.
3. Serve Others Together
The holidays offer a lot of opportunities to pour your energy and resources into others. Whether it’s serving food at a shelter, caroling at a nursing home, volunteering at a church service, or shopping for gifts for Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, or Operation Christmas Child, determine to do so together. Spending time hand-in-hand giving to others not only benefits your community, but creates life-long shared memories.
4. Dream Together
Like I talk about in my book Team Us, dreaming together allows you to create a shared narrative. To continue to pen together your story. The holidays, even prior to New Year’s Day, are a perfect time to sip hot chocolate or eggnog and brainstorm together about what’s next for you as a couple. Talk about what long-held dreams you want to accomplish or items you could check off your shared bucket list. Dreaming together helps you not lose sight of the big picture in the midst of holiday stress.
5. Face Conflict Together
Holidays can be breeding grounds for conflict. Whether it’s disagreements between the two of your or conflict among extended family. Make a choice to approach conflict with an “us against the problem” attitude rather than a “me vs. you” mentality. Determine to face conflict with the long-term health of your relationship as the goal.
This holiday season, choose to approach the tinsel, gift giving, and extended family get-togethers as a united team. You may just discover it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
Ashleigh Slater is the author of the book, Team Us: Marriage Together (Moody Publishers). As the founder and editor of Ungrind Webzine and a regular contributor at several popular blogs and websites, she loves to combine the power of a good story with biblical truth and practical application. Ashleigh lives in Atlanta with her husband Ted and four daughters. To learn more, visit AshleighSlater.com. You can also find her on Facebook here or follow her on Twitter at @ashslater.
Publication date: December 10, 2014