The holidays are arriving and with the holidays typically comes an added stress for married couples and especially newly married couples. Most of us come from a family that has a tradition or traditions of some kind. These can be as simple as the holiday foods that we eat all the way up to how we divide our time among grandparents and extended family. Yep, you can see where this is going. You and your spouse are now a new family entity and you may even have children. How do you begin to create your own traditions while not completely losing the ones that you cherish from your own childhood? The number one and two answers are: communication and compromise.
Communication Around Holiday Traditions
This can be a fun evening at home together and a great way to spend your “intentional time.” Cook up some hot chocolate or your favorite warm holiday drink, have some cookies, snuggle up with a warm blanket and get cozy together.
Sit down together and make a list of the family traditions that you have experienced with your parents and sibling(s) growing up. Look at them side by side. Are there any that you share? Are their ones that didn’t mean a lot to you and you are ok letting go of? Is there one that you feel that you have to carry on no matter what?
Once you have figured out which traditions matter to you both the most, it’s time to start working on compromise and figuring out how to incorporate those traditions into your new family. Do you have your ideas of new traditions that you’d like to create? Fabulous, get those out there too. There is nothing that is off limits in these sit down conversations with your love.
Compromising on holiday traditions
I can hear some of you saying, “ok, Tina but what about the traditions that matter to us as an individual but our spouse isn’t crazy about the idea?” That can happen and that is ok. Create conversation just as you would with any other topic. You have to remember that you have already started this conversation. You have gotten to talk about the traditions that are important to you and explained why. Your spouse has done the same. If you have heard the heart of your spouse but there is something that you just don’t love the idea of, stop and ask yourself if it’s a big deal or if this is something that you can do for them.
Create a new list that encompasses the traditions that you want to incorporate into your family and get excited! It can be scary when you are taking charge and creating your own “new” holiday experience, but this is an area of excitement for the rest of your lives together and the lives of your children. Have fun!
Disappointing family when changing Holiday traditions
There can be fear in creating new traditions especially when that means getting rid of old ones. Just as you are working to create traditions that are valuable to you, your parents did the same. There may be some hurt feelings if/when you choose to discontinue some traditions that you grew up with but that is ok.
You can ease some of the pain if you share with your parents the excitement in the new plans that you have created together. Talk about the conversations you had and how much joy it brought you to be able to create a holiday season on your own. More often than not, the joy that parents see in your conversation helps to ease the pain during change.
When you get married the Lord calls you to leave your parents and cleave to your new spouse (Genesis 2:24). Your parents will always be your parents and be an important part of your life, but your spouse now becomes your partner and your life is shared with that person. Your new life is just that, “new.” It is time to create with your spouse what you want your life to be like. New traditions, new rules, new way of doing things, a new partnership, new foundation, new life.
Find Joy in Holiday tradition
As you snuggle up and get ready to talk about the holidays be sure you leave space to find the joy. Don’t let negativity come in and steal away that joy that lies within the holiday season. The holidays are a time to remember the faithful of the Lord and to thank Him for all that we have been given, experienced and for life in His love. Christmas is a time to remember the birth of Jesus, but more than that it is to remember the reason for his birth and all that has happened because of his birth and sacrifice.
Jesus died so that you could live. The Lord created marriage so that we could experience the closest thing to His love for the church in humanity. You and your spouse are now one in Him, don’t lose the magnificent joy in that because of tradition differences. Take this space and show your spouse just how loved there are so that your love is enhanced instead of diminished.