HOLIDAY BLISS AND THE EXTENDED FAMILY…IS THERE SUCH A THING?
by Donna M. McDine
I married the man of my dreams at the age of 22 and remain happily married today, 23 years later. My husband, Tom and I have learned many lessons along the way to keep our marriage strong and still do to this day. One of the most conflicting times in married life can be the holidays. Well fret no more. Follow these simple steps and your holiday woes will surely fade away.
At the time of getting married many of us have grand visions of marital bliss where we would always see eye-to-eye. What a fantasy. No one can see eye-to-eye at all times, let alone a man and a woman. Men and women always seem to have very different thoughts from the simplest tasks of taking out the garbage, folding laundry, and cooking meals. Then come the more complicated ones such as family, friends, feelings, and finances. With all of the everyday pressures, how can a married couple come to terms with and agree who they spend the holidays with?
The phone rings weeks (or even months) before the next round of holidays begin. The inevitable question is asked. Are you joining us this year? Do you answer off the cuff? Or should you wait to discuss with your spouse?
Do not by any means answer this question unless you and your spouse have already made your decision. If not, tell the relative that is asking, you need to discuss it with your husband or wife first. Always remember that you make decisions together.
Create a United Front
By making decisions together and prior to the day you will present a united front to all involved. It is important to realize that you and your spouse are in the holiday juggling act together as well as all the other aspects of your marriage. There will always be someone that feels slighted. If your relatives live close together, splitting the day can be an option, but all of this running around and watching the clock sometimes adds more stress to the day. Even more so if you have little ones in tow.
Why not make it easier on yourselves and set an alternating schedule. One year you spend the holiday with your family and the next year with his family and continue on alternating each year.
Plan Ahead and Keep Everyone Informed by Being Proactive
Write it down each year so that you don't have to rack your brains to remember what you did the previous year. This way when the holiday approaches you can let the respective families know quickly, whom you will be spending the day with. Take note: Make sure that you relay your plans to your own immediate family and your husband to his. This should help alleviate any misunderstandings or hurt feelings between in-laws.
What To Do With The Family Not Visited
Just because you are not with one family for the actual holiday it doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate it a different day. How about you plan an alternate date with them either before or after the holiday? And make it clear that you will be with them the following year on the actual holiday. At first a family member may not be too thrilled about your decision, but over time they will come to realize that you and your spouse are being as fair as possible.
Tradition or New
Busting out of tradition can be fun. Try switching it up a bit. You can try hosting the holiday and having both sides of the family come together for the holiday. Make it a “potluck” day. Assign everyone a task (i.e., appetizers, side dishes, dessert, beverages, etc.).
Psalm 31:24 “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.”
It is important to be ourselves and this psalm reminds us that our hope comes from the Lord. Always remember you chose one another for a reason, enjoy your married life together. There will be ups and downs, and with the Lord’s guidance the adventure will move you forward in a confident search for a rewarding life.
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Thank you for visiting,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist