By Rachel O’Neill, Contributing Writer
With all of the holiday hustle and bustle, it can be very easy at this time of year to neglect your spouse. Presents to buy and wrap, elaborate meals to prepare, a hectic schedule of special events, and out of town company can make getting two minutes of face time nothing short of miraculous.
Cultivating a close marriage requires intentionality. By taking the time to consider and plan how you can invest in your spouse at this most wonderful time of year, you will be well on your way to blessing the one you love best.
Here are six ideas to get you started:
If you’re thinking ahead and preparing your holiday gifts and cards early, you will save a lot of stress for both you and your spouse! Sit down together and make your holiday budget. Discuss what you’d like to get for Grandma this year. Settle these decisions as a united front, and then get to work.
Last month I started a series on my blog all about preparing for Christmas early this year. By taking about 15 minutes each day, you can accomplish all of your holiday tasks in a stress free fashion. Avoiding last minute shopping trips the week of Christmas will free you to enjoy your family more.
Also, if there is an aspect of holiday prep which your spouse does not particularly enjoy, serve them by taking care of it! If your wife hates gift wrapping, give her a break and wrap for her. If your husband hates shopping, handle the Christmas gift selections for him.
2. Keep things simple
The simpler your plans, the more energy you’ll conserve for spending on your spouse, kids, and enjoyment of the season. Again, take a few minutes to sit down with your spouse. Decide which special events you will be attending this year, and which you won’t. Make sure to leave several nights each week free for relaxing together at home.
A select handful of meaningful events (going to see the Nutcracker, a Christmas play or concert, caroling with your church) will be much more rewarding and enjoyable than a frenzied grabbing of every available activity (hitting up multiple malls to meet and greet Santa, a half dozen cookie exchanges, office Christmas parties).
3. Adapt to your spouse
This can be a toughie, especially in the early years of marriage! Two people who’ve grown up in separate families with different cherished traditions can find it hard to let go of the old and embrace the new. Take the time to ask your spouse what their favorite holiday traditions were growing up, and share your top few. Is it possible to combine and get the best of both worlds? Talk it out, compromise, and come to a list you can reasonably agree on and be happy with.
4. Create together
That being said, are there any new traditions you can make as a new family unit? One of the joys of marriage is that you are the grown-ups now- you can make the decisions! Dream together- what did you long to do as a child during the holidays that your parents didn’t do? Open presents Christmas Eve? Have a delicious family breakfast early Christmas morning? Hash out the things you’d love to do as a couple. Make it fun and unique to the two of you.
5. Surprise each other!
I love this idea I read from Trina Holden last year- each year she gives her husband little presents for the 12 days of Christmas, corresponding the number of gifts to the day (example: a half dozen cookies on the 6th day, a CD with ten songs on the 10th, etc.).
Could you surprise your wife by saving up for what she really wanted but thought you couldn’t afford? Can you make a sweet and thoughtful homemade gift especially for your husband? Give them coupons for a massage, their choice on a movie, or a favorite dinner. Money may be limited, but love and romance never should be! Find creative ways to give and surprise!
6. Be Content
Maybe money is tight for your family this year. Maybe you won’t be spending the holidays with your side of the family, or maybe you won’t be with any family at all. Complaining, stressing, and having an abysmal attitude are sure ways to bring your spouse down.
Choose contentment, choose joy. Give thanks to the Lord daily for the blessings He has showered down upon you. Encourage your spouse with genuine compliments, hearty “thank you’s,” and a cheery disposition.
Whatever this Christmas brings you, you’re in it together. Harmonious togetherness is a gift to be celebrated, especially in our day and age. Let’s enjoy this blessing as we celebrate the birth of our Savior this year. Amen?
This post is part of our Surviving the Holidays With Your Marriage Intact series! Come back all month long for tips, advice, giveaways, and a FREE eBook on the Holidays here at A Biblical Marriage. You can find the rest of the series HERE.