This is literally the busiest time of year for me and my family. As clergy, I’m sure you can see why. Christmas not only brings about a ton of church-related activities, but my kids seem to have a slew of school activities we have to attend as well as the numerous invites to Christmas parties and social engagements. It is literally nuts around my home this time of year, so I can’t relate to those peaceful serene photos you see with the family sitting quietly around a fireplace or that family that has time to go ice skating or spend hours shopping for gifts. It’s a very different picture in my household – how about yours?
My guess is that many couples struggle to remain intimate and engaged with one another during the holidays. Christmas tends to be heavily focused on the children, activities, parties and other social engagements, extended family obligations, buying gifts, etc. Nowhere in there do we find the quality “couple” time we try to carve out during other times of year. I feel this deeply as my wedding anniversary is December 21 and we have rarely, if ever, truly celebrated our anniversary ON our anniversary because it’s so close to Christmas. Yes, having your wedding night on the “longest night of the year” seemed like a fantastic idea at the time . . . in hind sight perhaps it wasn’t.
I’ve been working on how I can intentionally carve out that intimacy with my husband this season and I thought I’d share some of the nuggets of wisdom that have come to me over the years. Perhaps this can help you and your spouse stay connected during this hurried holiday season.
Ways to Stay Engaged During Crazy Holiday Mayhem
- It’s not all about the kids – If you have young children in your home, make sure you don’t fall into the “Elf on the Shelf” trap. In other words, don’t spend hours each day coming up with the coolest way to hide your elf, perfectly decorate your home, buy the perfect gift for your kids, or come up with the best Christmas craft on the block. As much as your children would enjoy whatever you planned for them, remember that your first and foremost relationship in your family (besides the one you have with God) is your relationship with your spouse. Without that relationship being strong and healthy, your family as a whole will not be as healthy and happy as it could be. Utilize some of the time you would normally pour into hiding that elf into loving on your spouse instead. Believe me, your kids will still enjoy Christmas just as much 🙂
- It’s okay to say “no” – Don’t feel obligated to attend every single Christmas party you are invited to. If you are anything like me, you receive invitations from neighbors, friends, family, etc. for a multitude of events and social gatherings. You probably feel awful turning down invitations such as these (and maybe you feel like you can’t because your boss invited you to one or it’s an extended family invitation that you feel obligated to attend). Remember that your spouse and kids are the priority – not the parties. If you only have one or two nights a week that you are home together, don’t sacrifice those nights to go to a party. This is a time of year that you NEED that quiet night at home and it’s important that you protect that time together and make it a priority.
- Schedule intimacy if you have to – In my youth I thought that true intimacy didn’t take place unless it was spontaneous. But, now that I’m older and wiser I realize that scheduled intimacy is just as good, if not better at times! When I know the schedule is getting packed, I make a note on my iPhone to stop and send my husband a sweet text (with kissy face emote!) just so he knows I’m thinking about him. We have even been known to schedule sex, which sounds weird, I’m sure, but it ends up being even better because we have something to look forward to and we end up thinking about it all day. Even our flirty texts back and forth help make that night even better! Or, scheduling a time to sit together and talk is important. Every day is ideal for that type of intimacy, but we take it when we can get it!
Regardless of how you end up celebrating this holiday together, just remember to not lose track of what the intention of it is supposed to be – to celebrate a savior who was born out of love for us. This is worthy of our showing love to our spouse and remembering what’s truly important. Slow down and breathe . . . merry Christmas!