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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Stay Married For Christmas, Pt. 3 - No Common Ground

Tomorrow is Christmas Day, and expectations in most households are high. Expectations of how things will go, how things will feel...

...and some of these have already fallen by the wayside, unrealized.

One of the biggest problems couples have at this time of year - golly, at any time of year - are expectations that simply don't meet. Like railroad tracks, their lives and hopes and dreams stretch to the horizon, close put always separate.

It's magnified at Christmas, because...well, we're supposed to be close at Christmas. It's the season of renewal, the Birth of Hope.

We naturally apply those images as metaphors for our own lives, for our own marriages. And they are true,but God is not Santa Claus, and He doesn't bring the Instant Marriage Repair Kit and set it under the tree.

It takes work, and Christmas isn't a terrible time to work on it. In fact, the emotion and sentimental ambience can give relationship repair a head start.

To begin the move closer together, start with the Three C's - communication, cooperation, and compromise.

  • Communicate what you hope and expect for Christmas. Don't hold back, don't try to scale your dreams down to what you think is possible. Be honest. You owe that to your spouse - and yourself.
  • Cooperate in bringing your spouse's expectations to fruition. Trust hi or her to do the same with yours, but don;t make this any kind of quid pro quo arrangement. Christmas is also the season of giving...so give, and make the decision not to look at what you may be given in return
  • Compromise on the things that you find difficult in your spouse's "expectation portfolio". If your husband wants you to watch all the football bowl games that run through the holidays with him, and you can;t abide the sport...agree to a set number, the ones that are really important. And as part of the compromise, take the time to learn about the game, and the teams involved...on your own. You may find that i's more interesting than you expected.
The main point in these categories is to be looking outward, putting your mate on the same level of importance that you occupy in your worldview.

It's not that we're "born selfish"; that is not the point. We just have easiest access to what we want, what we think we need, and it takes an act of will to see the world through the eyes of another.

But it's sure worth it.

What about you? Do you have any ideas or suggestions to add?

If you have a moment, please take a moment to stop by at my other blog, "Starting the Day with Grace", for a quotation and a mercifully brief commentary.

And have a WONDERFUL Christmas!


  1. Such a good reminder of what it means to be putting each other first in marriage, Andrew. It's not easy sometimes. But by putting God above all, it removes the competition for that #1 spot. Merry Christmas, friend. Hope you are having a wonderful week.

    1. Thanks, Kim! Indeed, with God in first place, everything else falls INTO place.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  2. Savor the moments. The kids are growing up. It's hard to imagine a day that they won't be here. And life is so short ... here today, gone tomorrow. Just savor. And embrace the fact that others are different ... and that is okay. And ... I better go set the stew meat out to thaw! Stew it is! I hope you have a wonderful, Merry Christmas.

    You gave me a good scare this year ... don't let that happen again. :)

    1. Exactly. Savor them, because each one is a gift from God.

      Enjoy the stew!

      And no, I won't let something like what happened, happen again. If that makes sense.

      Merry Christmas to y'all!

  3. Great advice, Andrew! My advice includes another 'C'. Change. Realize that as humans, we change. It's natural. Just because your spouse got excited over something 20 years ago doesn't mean that they will be just as excited over it today. Don't be afraid to suggest or enact change. Realize that your spouse (like yourself) is a work in progress!

    1. That's a great addition! Change happens, and trying to deny it i(in either your spouse or yourself) s like holding back the tide. You wind up all wet.

      I hope you've had a great Christmas!