Three things that will enhance your relationship over the holidays.
Our Christmas Tree is up and operational, and one big difference this year is that I didn’t trim the house with lights!
I was looking for the box of Christmas bulbs that I’d hung around the house for years when Angie (my first wife) reminded me that we had a discussion last year and that we’d decided not to put them up. I was unaware until last year that she was not very fond of the lights.
Why on earth would I tell you this? Because the holidays can be a very stressful time for any relationship. With that in mind, I wanted to give you four things you can do to have a less stressful holiday.
First, turn towards each other. It is so easy to be swept up in the frenzy of the season. One of the easy things to do to have less stress over the next few weeks is to be sure to spend some time together as a couple. No smart devices, if possible, no kids, no distractions. It might only be a few moments in the morning or the evening; just make sure you get some uninterrupted time together. NOTE: don’t think big on this, a few private moments can go a long way.
Second, share the load. For many, the holidays can become a whirl of activities. It is essential that as a husband and wife, we make sure we work together to share the burden and get through the season with minimal stress. When I was a teenager, we had horses, and I remember talking to our local vet one time. He was telling me that two draft horses pulling together cannot pull twice as much as one. They can actually pull three times as much. The two draft horses that can tow 8,000 pounds alone can pull 24,000 pounds by working together. So, share the load.
Third, encourage each other. This past weekend we watched A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and one of my takeaways was how encouraging Fred Rogers was. Now I am not asking you to be him, but I am asking you to be more intentional, and thoughtfully engage your partner.
Encourage. The word means to give courage, hope, and confidence. Here is a secret that I have learned as both a therapist and a man married to the same woman for 47 years.
Men need three things: To feel needed, to feel competent, and to feel respected.
Women need three things: To feel valued, to feel cherished, and to feel secure.
If you think about these three needs, you will find that it will be easier to be an encourager.
Remember, these three things, turning towards each other, sharing the load, and intentionally encouraging each other can go a long way in mitigating the stress of the season.
I sincerely hope your holidays are filled with joy, contentment, and great memories.