Marriage Matters: Navigating the Holidays
By: Ashton Cude
It’s Wedding Wednesday and time for another installment in our Marriage Matters series. I don’t know about y’all, but I looked at my calendar and did a double take this morning. Thanksgiving is next week! I love the holidays and can’t wait for everything the season holds. At the same time, the holidays can be a huge challenge for married couples. Last year was our first year married and I was surprised how draining the holidays were for us. Below are a few words of advice to help you navigate the holidays with your spouse well.
Put each other first:
The holidays are supposed to be about family and the ones you love, but as a married couple, you will be pulled in so many different directions during the holidays. Between work, each of your families, friends, gift shopping, budgeting, decorating, and traveling, it can quickly feel overwhelming. Andrew and I are very blessed to both have parents who are understanding and respectful, but I’ve heard horror stories. Remember that you and your spouse are a family now. Scripture says “leave and cleave” for a reason. Always consider your spouse and be willing to compromise. If you have one family member or side of the family that is continually creating conflict, you need to sit down and have a grown-up conversation with them. Figure out what boundaries work well for you as a couple and stick to them. In all the hustle and bustle, remember to find ways to show love to your spouse.
Don’t get caught in comparison:
I had what we in the South call a “come apart” last year in the Hobby Lobby Christmas section. It was my first time decorating my own home for Christmas and I wanted it to look like a Southern Living photo shoot. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. Remember that you don’t have to compare yourself to anyone else. The people who come into your home won’t remember every little ornament and knick knack; they will remember how they felt while they were there. Especially if you are a newlywed, don’t put pressure on yourself to make your house look like the women around you who have been decorating their houses for decades. The same goes for gift giving and holiday plans. Comparison prevents you from being grateful and reflective on your own blessings, which is what the holidays are all about.
Slow down and take it in:
The holiday season is when we make so many of our memories. No matter how much you remember to slow down, it will go by so fast. Don’t forget to step away from the noise every so often and look around you. I’m always so moved when we read in the Christmas story that after giving birth in a stable, with the shepherds rushing to find them and spreading the word about the baby in the manger, Mary “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) What a wonderful example from a woman who had probably the craziest holiday season in world history.
I hope these words will be an encouragement for you as we enter this holiday season. May it be filled with joy, laughter, and much thanksgiving. We’ll continue to share festive content with you throughout the next couple of months.