The holiday season has descended upon us once again with jingles and trimmings to remind us of this festive time at every turn. You may be feeling anything but ‘festive’ as you contemplate the inevitable hustle and bustle of the next several weeks. The stress of the holidays is often felt especially in your marriage, but with a little awareness and thoughtful preparation, you may find that celebrating with your spouse can indeed be a joyful and peaceful experience. Here are five suggestions on how to make your marriage stronger this holiday season.
1. Have realistic expectations
Often the commercialized hype surrounding this time of year can put a lot of false guilt on us when we do not feel all that love, joy and peace which is supposedly mandatory. Realize that your life and your marriage is unique and you will find the fulfillment you are looking for as you connect with your spouse, sharing special moments together doing things that you both find meaningful.
2. Take time to plan a budget
One of the most stressful things about the holiday season can be money related. Overspending is a serious temptation which can cause havoc in a marriage. It is helpful if you take time to plan a budget together agreeing on the amount you have available for gifts, travel, decorations, food and any other holiday expenses.
3. Be honest about your concerns
It’s no use bottling things up and adding to the tension of this busy time. It is better to discuss your concerns honestly with your spouse, as and when they arise. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed with all the errands and running around, ask your spouse for help rather than dropping from exhaustion or exploding with frustration.
4. Share the parenting goals
Children are a huge part of the blessing and challenge of the holiday season and it is most beneficial if both parents can pull together with the parenting role. Discuss together with your spouse what you would like your children to experience and learn this holiday season. As you have a common goal you can plan your strategy together and so strengthen your marriage.
5. Remember to be thankful
Thankfulness is an antidote to so many negative emotions. If you make a conscious habit every single day to think of what you are grateful for in your life and especially in your spouse, you will notice a lightness in your spirit as you realize how truly blessed you are. This thankfulness needs to be expressed regularly and as you appreciate and affirm each other you will find that your marriage will become stronger this holiday season.