Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Marriage Survival Tips

Would it be weird to applaud Jake's blog? Because I didn't read it until he wrote it and frankly, it made me feel better! I keep reading in all these psychology books and magazines that say it's a sure sign of doom when a couple can't find anything to talk about. And it's kinda been freaking me out! I feel like it's actually really normal to find yourselves stumped for conversation and one of those things that naturally ebbs and flows with life. So kudos husband, your blog helped me :)

So it's the holiday season. A season that can bring us spouses together, but also find crafty little ways of driving us apart. There are a lot of emotions that go along with holidays, much more than many of us realize. We all have pasts, families, traditions, certain foods we're used to eating, certain times we're used to celebrating. It's not guaranteed that you and your spouse will want to do things the same way.
So how can you enjoy this time of celebration without killing each other? Here are couple survival tips that Jake and I have learned so far:

1. Be preemptive - Have conversations about where you want to spend the holidays, who you want to spend them with, how long you want to be there, what traditions you want to honor and so forth...BUT! Have them before you're actually in the middle of friends and family nudging each other under the table or having a fight on the car ride home.

2. Consider each other's feelings - Traditions mean something. Ask your spouse to explain what traditions they want to observe this coming year and why that tradition is important to them. It's important to understand each other's feelings because it helps both spouses work through compromises sensitively.

3. Compromise - I guarantee the way your family always did things growing up is not the way your spouses family did things growing up. Find ways that you can honor both families...and also remember you and your hubby are also a family. It'd be good to start some new traditions that are special to you both.

4. Be a team - Family is great. But they often have a way of pushing the exact button that really ticks us off. It's easy for feelings to get hurt during holiday gatherings and for families to possibly step over boundaries that you and your husband/wife had previously agreed upon. If that happens it's important to back one another up. (Unless one of you is being truly horrible..and even then wait until you're alone to deal with it). Your hubby needs to feel that you love them and they can trust you to support them if things gets tense. The marriage is more important than Aunt Frieda's twisted desire to call your wife "That girl Tommy married," or Uncle Bob's slobbery lip kisses (both fictional). Be a team, you won't regret it.

5. Rest - It can be exhausting to go to everyone's house and parties during the holidays. Make sure you and the hubs have some time together to relax to refresh. Easier said then done, when you're trying to please everyone's families. But who wants to go back to work exhausted? A wise woman once told me, "Sometimes you will have to say no to good things and good people." Exercise the power of saying "no" to a couple things and take a nap.

6. Budget - Nothing creates an argument faster than how to spend money! Jake and I have already had several this 2010 Christmas season. Even though it might seem easier and more peaceful to avoid, have a good talk about how much money you have to spend, how you want to spend it, and then compromise. This will also be one of those areas where it's almost guaranteed you and your spouse will have differing opinions. Try to think wisely about how you decide to spend and be flexible. It will go a long way towards not having the post-Christmas "oh my gosh HOW much did YOU spend?!!" credit card bill fight.

7. Eat cookies - There really isn't a lot of wisdom behind this. But cookies are fun and they make people happy. You can't end a holiday list without cookies :)

-Melissa

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Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.