No matter what holidays or traditions you celebrate, the fall and winter seasons tend to get quite hectic. And with so many other demands on your attention—the kids and their academic and extracurricular activities, end-of-year work projects, visits (or Zoom calls) from extended family members, community events—it’s easy for you and your spouse to start feeling like ships passing in the night.
If you want to stay more grounded, connected, and present with your spouse this holiday season, here are four fun things that can help.
1. Schedule Check-Ins
Regular check-ins with your spouse are great at any time of year, but especially during the holiday season which is traditionally rife with a mix of positive and negative emotions like excitement, grief, and anxiety.
As a team, select one day a week (or whatever frequency works best for you) to sit down as a couple and check in with each other.
How are you feeling?
What’s on your mind?
Any funny dreams recently?
What does the family’s week look like?
What are you excited about right now?
What are you concerned about right now?
What do you need from me at this moment?
Carve out some time and space for the two of you to discuss whatever is on your minds and in your hearts, privately and honestly. You’ll be amazed at how a short preemptive discussion can stave off a lot of turmoil later on.
2. Start a Mini Holiday Tradition (Just for the Two of You)
Is there a special movie you love to watch? A community play, event, or service you’d like to plan a date around? What about making a grand and elaborate meal together?
We love holidays because of the traditions they offer. Honor and celebrate your marriage by creating a special tradition that’s just for the two of you to enjoy!
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3. Be Prepared to Say No
Overextending yourself feels like:
- Brain fog
- Poor sleep
- Low energy
- Irritability (which often ends up directed at the people closest to you…such as your spouse!)
- Short-term pleasure-seeking at the expense of longer-term well-being (think: overindulging on sweets, alcoholic beverages, social media, etc.)
Avoid these problems by deciding as a couple which holiday events and commitments you will lovingly say no to this year.
In addition to minimizing preventable stress, being more selective about the invitations you accept allows you and your spouse to be more fully present when you do head out to socialize.
4. Pay it Forward Together
We know volunteering does good for others—and it’s not selfish at all to acknowledge that volunteering your time, money, and/or energy actually benefits you, as well.
By volunteering as a couple (or a family), you invite a sense of shared purpose into the marriage that can help strengthen your relationship and amplify the known physical and emotional health benefits of volunteer work.
Are You Ready to Discover More JOY Into Your Marriage?
Rabbi Slatkin and the rest of the team at The Marriage Restoration Project want you to have a safe, satisfying, and thriving holiday season! If you’d like to speak with a marriage counselor before the holidays really kick into high gear, contact us today at (443) 645-0630.