Monday, December 4, 2017

Holiday Tips for your Marriage

The Christmas holidays are sometimes stressful for marriages, not only because in-laws and travel are added to the mix but also because budgets are usually stretched further, as we spend more money for gifts, especially if you have kids or large extended families.

We recommend three tips to ensure the holidays don’t stress your marriage:

1. Get on the same page. Communication is always essential in marriage, but especially at this time of year. First, talk through your travel plans in advance—and make sure you talk to your spouse before you commit to being at Grandma’s house on Christmas morning. Even if you always do the same thing, this year be intentional about ensuring that your Christmas plans are what you both want to do. In doing so, you give honor to each other. Second, communicate about your spending plan for gifts, which leads us to number two…

2. Make a budget. Finances are often cited in the top three reasons for divorce, and this time of year is no exception. I’ve said before that most marriages have a saver and a spender. Whatever role you usually play, be sure to talk to your spouse about your spending plan. Howell and I make a list of everyone we buy gifts for, and we budget an amount that we’ll try to spend on each person. It’s not always a perfect system, but it at least gives us an idea of what our account balance is going to look like at the end of the season.

3. Take a break. It’s okay to take a time out from family and events. Save time for each other. If you’re at the grandparent’s for the weekend, ask them for two hours so you and your spouse can have a movie date. Even if it’s just to escape for a grocery item or a sonic drink, take a break for some alone time with your spouse. Whatever your love languages are, don’t starve each other from much-needed deposits into your love banks just because you’re surrounded by family for days or weeks. You spouse is still a priority!

This season doesn’t have to be stressful for your marriage. After all, we’re celebrating the birth of our Savior. Emmanuel—God with us. What a privilege to know we’re never alone, and we’re never too far from His grace and love. When it feels like too much, when the stress is too high, and the checking balance too low, remember the reason for all we celebrate this year. Jesus came down—what a gift to us!

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas season with your family and loved ones!

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