Jayne Griffin looked at her calendar and realized she doesn’t have a free weekend until after January 1st. She’s hosting the family Thanksgiving meal and taking her grandbaby to see Santa. Then there’s the staff party at her house, her husband’s office party and the church Christmas gathering. Plus, she’s taking a trip to see friends and working two of the weekends.
The commitments are great, but with little downtime it’s easy to stress about what to do. The most likely person to experience the brunt of that stress is…her husband.
“For many years I refused to start planning too far ahead of time for the holidays because I felt like I was giving in to the commercialism of it all,” says Griffin. “So I would end up doing things at the last minute when I was already exhausted. If my husband wasn’t doing what I thought he should be doing to help out, things could escalate pretty quickly between the two of us.”
While everybody’s “to-do list” may look a bit different, most probably have one thing in common. It’s the big fight: not the one on television, but the one between you and your spouse as a result of poor planning, running at breakneck speed and communicating in shorthand.
“For too long I have put off the secular in order to enjoy the sacred, but I actually ended up squelching the joy of the sacred and the secular celebration, and it definitely took a toll on my marriage,” says Griffin. “Over many years of marriage I think I have finally learned that I can plan ahead without giving into the commercialization of the holiday.”
Now, the Griffins sit down and discuss the schedule for November and December. Together they decide how they want things to go. They highlight the especially crazy times that would require extra finesse to keep the lines of communication open and attack problems instead of each other.
“I am not dreading the holidays and that is a first,” Griffin says. “In previous years I would wait until the week of a party to plan my menu. This year I spent a couple of hours making my plan including menus for various parties, my gift list and other miscellaneous items. I have already purchased some gifts and I don’t get overwhelmed thinking about what’s left on my list. I am amazed at how different I feel. And, most importantly I am not at odds with my husband!”
These tips can help you conquer the holidays. They can also help you enjoy them and keep your marriage healthy at the same time:
Be mindful of the things that hinder your joy and put unnecessary strain on your marriage.