- It is also a time of year that puts a lot of stress on married couples. Christmastime is a time of great decision-making, decisions that can literally make or break or your marriage. Decisions such as,Where to go for Christmas: should we stay at home? Go on a vacation? Spend Christmas with your parents? Spend Christmas with my parents?What to do for Christmas: are we getting a Christmas tree? Are we buying and exchanging gifts? Are we going carolling? Are we cooking a Christmas feast? Are we staying in, low-key, watching movie marathons? Are we sending food to that orphanage?
What to get for Christmas: what are you getting me? What am I getting you? Do we have to exchange gifts?
According to this article by Dr. Harley, in some parts of the world, Christmas and New Year are a great time of year for marriage counsellors and divorce attorneys. Why is that? Here are two reasons.
- Decision-making makes or breaks a marriage, and decision-making at Christmas is what breaks most struggling marriages.
- They forget what Christmas is really about.
In marriage, making decisions is an important task. Deciding TOGETHER is up there after loving God and loving each other. And Christmas is when couples decide that what they want to do is what the other spouse wants, without sitting down with them and talking it through.
Being people with different temperaments and thought processes, it is natural to struggle when the holidays come, and you see some extremes in your spouse you never expected. One of you may want to stay indoors, like nothing special is happening, while the other wants everything that says ‘Christmas’, even if it means putting empty boxes under a tree. It is possible to have fun and an even stronger bond with your spouse this Christmas: here’s how.
Sit down. Talk to each other. Listen to each other and listen to understand. There may be a reason your spouse wants Christmas to be a certain way. There may be a reason behind their almost-manic drive to have the perfect Christmas celebration, or to go to their parents, or to not do anything and stay all day indoors. Listening to each other, understanding each other, will help you make plans that will benefit both of you.
In this season, be more committed to your spouse than to your Christmas plans. Let them. No plan is more important, more relevant, more of a priority than your spouse. What you want for Christmas can never be more important than your relationship with your spouse. Be a team this Christmas: make plans together, take decisions together, pray about those plans together, spend time together as you execute those plans. Be a team!
Make those Christmas plans together! Create a Christmas budget together, and agree that once you have reached the limit of that budget, nothing else is happening, no matter how important. Pray about the best way to guard those Christmas plans so that there won’t be any arguments or strife between you two. Make Jesus the centre of your Christmas plans!
See the Good in the Disappointments
‘Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (HCSB)
You are married to a one-of-a-kind, fearfully, and wonderfully, UNIQUELY made child of God! So she doesn’t cook that soup the way your mother does. So, he doesn’t get excited about Christmas meat the way your father does. That is perfectly fine because they are not supposed to be like your mom or dad! So, the chin-chin got burned. So fried rice somehow got soggy. Yep, we live in this world: bad things happen. Find the good in those disappointments. Rejoice that the oil is still good even though the chin-chin burned. Be happy that the soggy fried rice tastes heavenly. Don’t let disappointment ruin Christmas for you and your spouse. Imagine if God stayed disappointed and never sent Jesus. We wouldn’t even have a Christmas to celebrate!
Focus on Jesus
He is the reason for the season! Not the gifts, not the food, not the visits, not even the carolling: JESUS is the reason we celebrate Christmas! His birth brought peace, joy, and hope to the world, and even though December 25 isn’t His birthday, we celebrate it anyway, because His birth is when salvation, redemption, FREEDOM came. Against all odds, God kept His promise, and now we can celebrate this great gift, the miracle that was Jesus’ birth. Focus on Him, on the joy and love that He gives, and that you will truly enjoy Christmas with your spouse.
May the peace, love, and joy that come from knowing the One we truly celebrate shine brightly in your marriage.
Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
Nguhiden Jessica Gar is a creative professional and fiction author, who spends more time reading than writing. She is happily married to her husband, Benjamin, and dreams of the day she can have a room filled with floor-to-ceiling shelves covered in books. You can read her work and contact her on Medium (https://medium.com/@JessNGar)