Marriage is hard. Let’s face it. Even the strongest marriages have their struggles. Building a life together takes hard work, commitment, the ability to forgive, the capacity to ask for forgiveness, and a whole lot of grace. During periods of high stress, our marriages often suffer. Since the joy of the holidays predictably brings the stress of the holidays, how can we take proactive steps to keep our marriages strong during this otherwise joyous time of year?
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When you consider all the planning that goes on during the holidays — travel planning, gift lists, shopping, holiday budgeting, meal planning, decorating, gift giving, cookie making, and the list goes on and on — you can see why this is one of the most stressful seasons of the year!
(By the way, if you’re in need of some help getting organized for the holidays, you should check out my free Holiday Planning Pack with 15 Printables.)
Where does our marriage fit in with all of this planning?
Well, I think we can all agree that the holidays are a season of celebrating our loved ones. Our spouses are to be celebrated, loved, and included in our holiday plans (and our holiday planning!).
Below are 10 tips to help you (and me!) reduce stress and maintain a strong marriage this holiday season.
Tip #1 – Create a Holiday Budget Together
We’ve all heard it before. Money is the number one cause of fights among married couples. During the holidays, this issue is forefront since we are spending more money than any other time of year.
The best way to combat the money stresses of the season is to have a budget in place and to stick to it. Creating a holiday budget together will open up the line of communication regarding money, so you’re both on the same page when it comes to holiday spending.
I’m a firm believer in saving early for Christmas. We didn’t always do this, and we sure learned our lesson the hard way when we were left paying off a credit card for several months after Christmas one year.
My husband and I now have a holiday saving account and start saving a little each month starting in January.
But don’t worry if you haven’t even thought about your holiday budget yet, it’s never too late to start a budget! If you need help with budgeting, you’ll find a Holiday Budget Planning sheet in my free 2016 Holiday Planning Pack.
Tip #2 – Get Physical
Okay, ladies, you knew this one was coming, and it’s even more important than Tip #1.
You have to find time for sex during the busy holiday months. Sex is an antidote to stress. Yes, you heard me right, sex may be the best way to combat the stress of the season. Your husband will be pleased.
So find time this holiday season to physically connect with your husband. You’ll both be happier and less stressed!
Tips #3 – Send Love Text Messages
In our modern age of technology, we have the ability to instantaneously connect with our spouses at any time of day. So, why not send a love text to remind your husband that you’re thinking of him?
If you’re having a difficult time coming up with love text message, you can find a downloadable list of 365 love text messages to inspire you on the Dating Divas website.
Tip #4 – Plan for Family Holiday Outings Together
Don’t take on all of the planning yourself. Include your husband when you’re trying to decide on family holiday outings like picking out your Christmas tree or going to see the holiday lights.
These conversations will not only help you share the responsibility of planning but will also bring you closer together as you discuss activities you’ll be doing together as a family.
Tip # 5 – Have a Home Date Night
Date nights are hard during the holidays. Calendars fill up quickly with holiday parties, shopping, and all of the required holiday errands. So why not plan a date night at home?
One of our favorite home date nights is to give each other massages. Massages often lead to Tip #2, leaving us both feeling connected and happier. If you’ve never given a massage to each other, you might want to consider learning how to massage with this video series designed just for couples.
Tip #6 – Be Your Spouse’s Secret Santa
This next tip may be my favorite. Be your spouse’s Secret Santa. Leave little gifts for him to find at home, in his car, in his coat jacket, or any other place you think he might find it.
These gifts can be simple or elaborate. It’s up to you! So try leaving a love note in your husband’s pocket or putting his favorite candy bar in his lunch. This is a fun, romantic, and inexpensive way to invest in your marriage.
Tip #7 – Touch Every Day
Even on those super busy holiday days, make time to embrace each other and kiss in the morning at night.
Even small physical touches like holding hands or rubbing his back reduce stress and bring connection.
Tip #8 – Don’t Forget To Say Thank You
Manners matter and they matter in marriages too. When your spouse does something for you or the kids, don’t forget to thank him for it.
This small phrase is huge. By thanking your husband, you are acknowledging that you see and appreciate what he is doing to make your family and your marriage stronger.
Tip #9 – Go on (Shopping) Dates
Okay, even though real dates may not be possible during this time of year, you may still be able to sneak in a meal together when you’re doing your holiday shopping.
So get a babysitter and go shopping together. You can divide up the shopping to get more accomplished in less time and then meet for a post-shopping lunch or dinner date. Or you could have breakfast together before starting your shopping for the day.
Tip #10 – Say I Love You
This last tip is one that is so simple but so important. Remember to tell your spouse that you love him every day.
This simple phrase is packed with so much meaning. But we often forget to look our spouse in the eye, embrace him, and say “I love you.” So try to say it every day.
I don’t know about you, but this list of 10 ideas has me looking forward to spending time with my husband this holiday season.
How about you? Will you make a commitment to keep your marriage strong this holiday season (despite the holiday stress that is sure to ensue)?
Which of these ideas is your favorite for keeping your marriage strong this holiday season? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.