Yes gentlemen, it’s that time again: the holidays are upon us. For those of us in the States it starts with Thanksgiving this Thursday. For all of us Christmas and New Years are approaching at full gallop.
The holidays can be great fun, but they can also be difficult on marriages. Stress runs high, arguments escalate, sex is neglected, quality time ceases to happen, and on and on. Why not have a discussion with your bride now, before the madness hits, and decide to opt out of the problems that can accompany the holidays?
Yes, this fits in nicely with my last few posts about doing less and having less resulting in us being happier. Decide what is important, make time for that, and limit the usual holiday activities and expenses as necessary to keep the priorities where they should be. Doing this is not easy, and it will take real courage.
One common problem is relatives who expect a visit, or expect to visit you. If you both have family who expect this, the problem can become significant. Some may respect you for setting limits and making choices, but some will no doubt be offend. I would say your marriage and your immediate family (your bride and children) are more important than the feelings and offences of others – take a stand and stick to it no matter what. Do what is right, and let others choose to fit within that or not.
Another common problem is overspending. I know folks who go into debt each December. Debt is the gift that keeps on taking – do not allow it into your home! Beyond the debt, do you need all those things? Do your kids need all those things? Does anyone need something from you badly enough to justify paying it off for months or years? Again, take a stand. Decide what you can afford and what you think you should spend, and do whichever is the least of those two. Then let folks know what you are doing, and let them choose to give to you, or not, and in whatever amount they feel is right. If it’s the thought that counts (and it should be, shouldn’t it?), then how much you spend should not be an issue. Additionally, any gift accompanied by a card with more than a dozen heartfelt words is a gift worth far more than your money can buy.
Time use is yet another common issue. We are overrun with parties, shopping, events, school and church programs, and on and on. Decide how much time you and your bride need for each other, and how much time your kids need with you, and then make hard decisions about what time you have left. Yes, you will probably offend someone because you don’t attend something. Odds are they will get over it, and if their feelings are more important to them than your time, then you might be better off if they don’t get over it. Again, decide what is right, and then have the guts to stand by that.
Arm yourselves my bothers! The battle of the holidays is upon us, and only the courageous will escape unscathed!