Warning, severe congestion ahead. You’ve no doubt experienced this phrase. We hate congestion. My guess is you’re already thinking about:
- Traffic jams
- Long lines
- Stuffed up nostrils
Whether it is blocked traffic, nasal passages, bowels, or checkout lines, it is a painful experience. The reality is, when congestion builds up, enjoyment goes down.
With the holiday season approaching, now is a time where we need to be warned: SERIOUS CONGESTION AHEAD. Most of us go to more parties and family functions, put up (and take down) more decorations, and buy (and receive) more gifts in December than we do in all of January through November.
How do we stay focused on Christ and enjoy our key relationships, including our marriages, in the middle of such congestion? Here are 10 tips to stay married and help you arrive at January 1st closer to Jesus and your spouse than you were on November 1st.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. —Psalm 19:14
10 Ways To Stay Married
#1 Don’t compromise your time with Christ.
A good friend of mine challenged me to make an hour appointment with Jesus every day—to just sit, walk, read, and enjoy Jesus. If we desire peace, it only makes sense to spend consistent time with the Prince of Peace.
#2 Establish fun family traditions.
We watch Elf to start the Christmas season each year. On Christmas Eve, Marilyn makes a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” cake, and we watch the movie Nativity as a family. Our whole family looks forward to these traditions every year.
#3 Serve together.
Identify people who you know will be sad or in need this season and intentionally show them the love and generosity of Jesus. Serving with your spouse or family brings unity and joy to the relationships.
#4 Create boundaries.
Boundaries are the nasal spray for Christmas congestion. A few good “no’s” can make the difference in you enjoying almost anything. Think of eating an amazing donut. One donut is good. Two is even better. Three, well, not so good. Four, I am about to puke. Scheduling isn’t all that different. If you have too many good things on the schedule, it is likely you won’t enjoy any of them.
#5 Go on holiday date nights.
Drive around and look at Christmas lights. Listen to Christmas music in the car. Go to Christmas movies or have a Christmas movie marathon in your home. Bring a Christmas theme to your holiday date nights. The season brings so many opportunities for special date night ideas and adventures.
#6 Have one-on-one dates.
Family get-togethers and Christmas parties can squeeze out one-on-one time together. Block off dates and commit to them throughout the Christmas season.
#7 Honor the other.
Another idea for how to stay married, if your spouse likes to decorate, jump right in and enjoy it. Don’t fight it. Try to make the holiday season as special as possible for your spouse.
#8 Live in the moment.
Don’t let all that needs to be done steal the joy of the person or thing in front of you. Fight hurry, be grateful, and make the most of everything the Christmas season brings.
#9 The “B” word—BUDGET.
Decide on a budget for gifts and stick to it. Don’t dread the arrival of the January credit card statement. If possible, use cash for Christmas gifts—swipes are always easier to make than handing over cash.
#10 Don’t be the Christmas scrooge.
Nobody likes the guy who is always railing against Santa, the commercialization of Christmas, and gifts. Do as you feel convicted, but don’t be “that guy.”
Our prayer is that you grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ and one another this Christmas season. It takes discipline and intentionality to grow in your relationships. God bless and Merry Christmas!
Brad Rhoads is co-founder of Grace Marriage.