Today’s post is written by an anonymous guest author. My friend asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitive nature of her post. She wanted to be able to speak her mind, to maybe help others, without stepping on any of her extended family’s toes.
Last month I wrote a post entitled, Six Principles To Follow To Avoid Holiday Conflict. I wrote it from a parents point of view. The post today is a kind of follow-up, written from the adult-married child’s point of view.
My friend and I share the same desire, to see parents and their adult children and spouses have healthy relationships that center on respect and unity in Christ. The test of how well we do with this seems to be most evident during the holiday season when everyone’s “wants” pull us this way and that. I hope today’s post will give you another tool to help navigate those sometimes uncertain waters.
This season is indeed a wonderful time of year but it is usually seasoned with stress too.
There are many demands on our time—Christmas plays and parties, family gatherings, outreach opportunities, shopping and baking…and baking some more.
When my husband and I were newly married we were ill-prepared for the stress that would ensue around the holidays in regards to where we spent Christmas.
We were both blessed to grow-up in loving Christian families but guess what? Both sides wanted us to spend the holidays with them. Of course we looked forward to being with loved ones but we often felt like we were disappointing at least one or both sets of parents with our decisions.
We began to dread the holidays because it felt like a set-up for stress. We tried our best to balance our time but it never seemed to be enough.
Hubby and I want to be on the same page and present a unified front when it comes to expectations from extended family.
Be unified with your spouse as you honor Jesus as King—of your life, your home and this season.
We love our families so much, are truly grateful for them and want to spend time with them, but we also know the inner-wirings of our own family and what we can reasonably offer, while still having time and energy to celebrate with one another.
This year we are reinstating that we will celebrate Christmas at home as a family. It might sound harsh or exclusive to some, but we decided to eliminate the competition and just enjoy a quiet morning together.
We are probably making both sides upset with our decision but we felt the need to set that boundary for our sanity.
We know a couple who started using the phrase, “we agree” in front of their young son. They wanted to demonstrate to their son that as his parents they were a team and that he wasn’t going to get away with manipulating them.
This couple upped their communication game so that they were both on the same page and the result left little wiggle room for their son to play them.
This year my husband and I talked at length about the time we would spend with each side of our extended family and also set the boundary of spending Christmas morning with our immediate family.
Even if there are those who are disappointed, our decision to set boundaries does not change our love for them.
We are cleaving to Christ and one another and will enjoy the time we have with our fabulous families too.
It is a stressful time, but when you and your spouse agree you can rest easy that you have made the best decision you can.
-How do you navigate the stress of this season?
-What are some ways you balance your time between in-laws?
Thank you for the gift of Christmas—the gift of Your Son, Jesus, sent to earth to save us from sin. Help us to focus on You as we enter this season. Please give my spouse and I wisdom and unity in Your Spirit as to how we spend our time this month. Help us to live out Genesis 2:24 and honor our spouse with our choices. Help our families to know that we love them, even if we feel led to make decisions that they don’t understand. Thank You for grace, forgiveness and for the gift of family. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.