By Sarah Logan, Contributing Writer
Christmas season busy-ness is upon us. Pressures are mounting. Too many things are vying for attention. Baking, shopping, concerts, productions, programs, social events, decorating, wardrobe re-arranging… you name it – any of these can somehow wiggle their way into top priority – IF we aren’t vigilant in keeping our perspective on things that matter. Navigate the course of these busy days carefully with the words of the psalmist in mind:
“Turn my eyes away from worthless things…” (119:37)
We hear so often ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ and heartily agree – without Him there would be no meaningful Christmas. (There would probably be a season of marketing paraphenalia regardless, but I digress). So as we look to the days ahead, asking one crucial question can clarify how high a priority it is: Is this endeavor about honoring Him? Even if it is bringing cookies to your child’s Christmas party, be thinking about how this may be an opportunity to shine brightly for Him, or how you may bless his class with your participation.
As our marriages weather the stress of the season, we can emerge frayed and weary and enter January with a lot of make-up homework/marriage-keeping to do. How can you honor your spouse during the busy days? I had a hard time adjusting in marriage, to almost everything. One of the biggest things was leaving the house. Sam wanted to be on time to everything. It was extremely difficult for me. But early on I decided I would make this a priority, even though I drag my heels and can go very slowly.
Honoring his need to be on time meant I had two options: leave for an event with wet hair, no makeup and a thrown-together outfit, or, plan ahead for the time I need to get ready and be ready in his timeframe. I have to admit, for the most part I stick with the first option – because I find it hard to plan ahead. So I had to accept my natural look (very, very natural, mind you) and be thankful that I didn’t have to look like a movie star everywhere I go. (Inadvertently this has led to more confidence in myself realizing I don’t need to look a certain way to interact socially, though regular showers do help ).
How can you honor your spouse during these days?
Could it be that you need to run things by him/her before you plan? I guess that’s a given, but it’s so easy to forget and just think, ‘I’m sure he’d love to go to this or that – I’ll say yes and let him know later…’ If you have children it is easy to let their lives overrule the core life you have with your spouse.
Just recently I spent time tucking each child in bed and Sam was very tired and falling asleep by the time I was done. He shared with me how he just wants a few minutes to pray together and go over the days events before bed and could we get the kids down earlier to have this time. What a great request! I would be foolish to ignore or deny it. Marriage is still a priority even when so many others are vying for attention.
What might your spouse need from you that might require effort and sacrifice on your part? Do his/her needs fall through the cracks or are they totally ignored during stressful, busy times? How can you re-group, re-prioritize and put each other ahead of your busy social calendar? Sometimes it starts with just saying no to invitations, events or pleas for donations. You can love each other by guarding and protecting the time and resources you have and reserving some of yourselves just for each other. You may be the life of the party and be leaving the love of your life by the wayside. Tread carefully and make sure he/she is front and center of your world.
I used to observe differences in married couples. A couple who mentored us seemed to be so united about everything they did – separate and alone – that I wondered if it wasn’t a bit unhealthy. I thought, ‘Hmmm, that just isn’t my style. Good for them, but I’m more individualistic than she is. That’s my personality.’ This was my thinking at the time, but as the years have passed (and I’m still only 12 years into marriage!) I realize that was a foolish outlook. That couple had it right and I was just so far from understanding how much marriage is about oneness.
She made her husband and family a priority and declined certain social events and outings. She would attend different gatherings but always try to leave so as to get home before she would be missed too much. I watched and thought I could never do it. I had too much fun with my adult friends. Those days are long gone for me. Now I generally try to leave an event in good time because I’m itching to get back to my brood. God has turned my heart towards my home and family. What better place for it to be!
And the precious days of celebration are so quickly ended. I want to look back on each season and know that I gave my spouse and my kids my full attention – that they were served and blessed by my presence with them. Seasons come and seasons go, but your husband and kids will remain in your life through the years. Prioritizing them is not a wasted endeavour. Better to think it through carefully now and come out beaming with pride for the joyful remembrances you had together – with Christ at the center and hands clasped tightly in unity around His cradle.
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.