I could feel my blood pressure rising. The red bins with green lids were overtaking my dining room table. The Christmas tree my husband had been kind enough to assemble stood forlorn without decorations. Another disappointment was the garland. My daughter's puppy had gleefully romped through the large pile of evergreen on the floor and tracked pine needles throughout the house.
There was nothing under the tree. I hadn't purchased a single Christmas gift — let alone wrapped one. I couldn't even dream about heading to the post office with beautifully wrapped gifts to mail to our friends and family. Granted, I had managed to get the family Christmas photo shoot organized with everyone in the same location at the same time dressed in coordinating outfits. (Yea me! That was more difficult than earning the Nobel Peace Prize.) However, that left me so exhausted I hadn't printed the photos to include with the Christmas cards, which were inside yet another plastic bin.
As I eyed the invading Christmas bling, the tension grew in my chest and shoulders. But ultimately, the tasks didn't matter but one: I wanted to avoid neglecting my husband, Greg, especially during the "happiest time of the year."
Making time for your husband or wife — without adding anything new to your load — is possible. You can look for key moments throughout the day that you can intentionally use to strengthen your most important relationship this side of heaven, your marriage.
As you reflect on your daily routine, think about pivotal times you can use to connect with your spouse, moments that might just work to reach out so you can briefly show a sign of affection to your spouse. Here are times that work for us:
When you wake up in the morning
A perfect opportunity to connect emotionally and spiritually is in that space between getting out of bed and leaving the house for the day. You can take 10 minutes to enjoy coffee together and to chat and encourage each other. And don't forget to display some sort of affection — a hug or a kiss — before you part.
When you are away
While you're apart, send a romantic text to your spouse to show that he or she is in your thoughts and to express your appreciation for him or her.
When your spouse arrives home
Drop whatever you are doing to greet your spouse (even if this means putting down the Christmas décor that you're still trying to hang). Greet him or her with a warm kiss. This sets the right tone for the rest of the evening and gives you a better chance of having a positive night with your spouse.
When you say goodnight
Use the time before going to bed to share one thing that you appreciate about your spouse. When you're diligent about doing this, you'll notice good things about him or her throughout the day. Affirm your husband or wife. Then pray together, ending the day in spiritual unity.
Although the holidays are a crazy and wonderful time of year, ignore the Christmas decorating long enough to be intentional about pursuing your spouse and using everyday moments to strengthen your marriage.Erin Smalley serves as the strategic spokesperson for Focus on the Family's marriage ministry and develops content for that department. She is the author of 10 Things a Husband Needs from His Wife.
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