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It’s the time where the “most wonderful time of the year” becomes the “most stressful time of the year.” It’s the Holiday Season. (Think: Parties, parties, and more Holiday parties.) You can definitely be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things going on. You want the Holidays to be a good experience where you can create and reminisce upon sweet memories. The pressure is ON.
We all come into the Holiday Season with expectations- things we hope will happen. (And if they don’t, it can really set us off.) For example, when my husband and I first got married, we celebrated our first Christmas together in Korea. I treasured the Christmas Season when I was growing up. (In fact, my mother is pretty much Mrs. Claus.) We had many family traditions. But the MOST important one to me was attending a Christmas Eve service… so I carried all these expectations from Christmas into my marriage. I didn’t communicate this to my husband because I didn’t think I needed to. I was just so excited to share Christmas with my husband.
When the time came to head out to the Christmas Eve service in Korea, my husband didn’t want to go. He wanted to stay home and play video games. This conversation turned into a TERRIBLE fight. I felt hurt and misunderstood. I thought my husband didn’t want to be with me for my favorite tradition on my favorite day.
For you, it may not be a Christmas Eve service. It may be that you have an expectation of doing something with your spouse, but your spouse would rather do something else because you haven’t communicated its importance. This can lead to long term resentment and HURT.
In my situation, we were both hurt. We were unable to listen to one another to figure out what was going on in each of our minds and we didn’t make a plan for the next year moving forward. Instead of that- we let that resentment linger for SEVEN YEARS before talking about it.
It affected our rhythm of communication in the following months and so on, to the point where we couldn’t fully connect. We didn’t speak about how we felt, we didn’t share our expectations… it led to a relationship breakdown.
I am thankful to say that my husband and I recovered from this! We were able to sit down and share how we felt, understanding each other’s perspectives and learning how to move forward. I learned that my husband was unaware of how much the Christmas Eve service meant to me. I learned that he felt attacked and disrespected. You see, I made assumptions about him because I was hurt- my expectations had been shattered. If you have expectations that have been violated, take some time to debrief with your spouse. Don’t attack your spouse. Rather, explain what you were hoping would happen, explain why it is important to you, and craft a plan for NEXT time.
When my husband and I finally had that conversation, it made our relationship BETTER and stronger! I learned we all bring expectations into our marriage that we probably aren’t communicating. When these expectations get shattered or violated, it hurts. It causes you pain and you may take out the pain on your spouse. This can all be avoided if you have a conversation with your spouse about expectations.
Sitting down with your spouse (preferably before the Holidays) and speaking about your goals and wishes for yourselves, and your family is the BEST thing you can do. It’s even better if you can tie it to WHY it is important to you.
But what if you aren’t in a position to have a conversation with your spouse? Maybe there is so much animosity and resentment that having a conversation like this would cause an explosion. If you feel lost, if your relationship with your spouse seems so broken down that you don’t even see how to rebuild your relationship we can help! We have coaching, online courses, and Workshops that exist to help your relationship. We want to equip you so you can reconnect and have an amazing marriage!
The holidays can be a stressful time for your relationship. Check out our list of seven ways to holiday stress-proof your marriage!