Let’s Talk About How Use The Holidays To Refresh Your Relationship
The holiday season is a hectic time of the year – filled with too many obligations and not enough time to enjoy or even participate in them all. Unfortunately, one of the casualties of this frantic season can be your connection with your spouse. But it doesn’t have to be this way! It is possible to refresh and renew your relationship if you are intentional and purposeful about it.
LIMIT TIME SPENT ON EXTENDED FAMILY COMMITMENTS
You don’t have to participate in all the activities planned by either of your families. Family commitments are undoubtedly important, and the holiday season is when most families decide to get together. But don’t let them cause you anxiety and stress your relationship.
You can pick a few family events and graciously and tactfully pass on the rest. It’s okay to say that you need to spend time at home to catch up on rest, housework, job responsibilities, etc. If your spouse is really not enjoying spending time with your side of the family, let them off the hook! Attending the “main event” should be all that is expected of them. Even that expectation can be dropped, given the circumstances.
SPEND TIME TOGETHER
Many of us take time off from work during the holidays to spend time with our families and celebrate. If you have this extra time, schedule some of it with each other. Use it to focus on each other. Schedule a getaway, even if it’s just overnight. Make time to connect and enjoy each other.
LIMIT TIME ON DEVICES
Smartphones help us navigate, photograph moments in our lives, order take-out meals, etc. They are great, but they also steal time from our partner. Do you spend hours watching TV, browsing the news on your phone, or playing computer games? What is drawing you to your devices (s) and away from your partner? Not only can these backlit devices keep us in different worlds when we’re in the same room, but they also can interfere with our sleep if used an hour or less before bedtime. Talk to each other about limiting time on devices during the holidays, especially during that overnight getaway or scheduled time together.
REFLECT AND REMEMBER
Use some of your time together to reflect and remember what you have been through and what you have accomplished, not only in the past year, but in the entire time that you have been together. Think about how you have grown and changed from your first Christmas together until now. Share your most memorable positive holiday experiences with your spouse and how you felt at the time. You could be in the midst of a difficult season, and the holidays are tough for you this year. Draw close to each other and remind each other of happy memories from the past, believing that better times are ahead. Let the hope of the season and the promises of God’s unconditional love give you both “comfort and joy.”
TIME TO MAKE NEW MEMORIES
Holidays are an excellent time to make new memories with one another. Create a new family tradition. Take a trip to a destination that you have never visited before. You could revisit locations that evoke past pleasant memories and make this season more memorable. These present days can be special and meaningful if we will focus on gratitude and joy. Document them with photos and journal entries so that you can revisit these new memories in the coming years.
FOCUS ON FRESH BEGINNINGS
The winter holidays lead us into a brand new year. The New Year is traditionally a time when we think about what changes we want to make and what goals we want to set for the coming year. If your relationship needs a fresh start, you can work together to make it happen. Consider using the getaway mentioned above to create a fresh start. For example, you could each take some time for solitude and set your individual goals for the new year. Then you could come together and share those goals and talk about how you can support each other in reaching those goals. Then you could brainstorm together and create goals for your relationship and family.
Using these tips could help you grow closer to your partner during the holidays instead of further apart. If you need a fresh beginning in your relationship, our book, “40 Days to a Thriving Relationship,” can help!