Doing Family Right

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Marriage: The Best Christmas Gift for Your Spouse

Ever been stuck wondering what to get your spouse for Christmas? I sure have, especially since I’m a December 24th power shopper! I know, I don’t deserve much sympathy as one of those last minute guys. But I really do love to be creative and show unusual thoughtfulness to let my babe know how special she really is to me. Alas…I have settled too many times for the typical new dress, comfy slippers, some ‘got to have’ gadget or the now famous gift card! Sheesh. How lame!

Maybe it’s time to take a page out of God’s ideas for Christmas gifts?

Christmas was God’s bold, first move into history to bring us back to Himself. We celebrate Jesus as the one who was and is and forever will be the greatest gift of all time. Yes, Jesus is the reason for this season. Perhaps its time to make your bold, first move. Stay with me.

You see, God loved us so much as the pinnacle of His creation that He gave Jesus as the living bridge to span the gulf between a holy God and a fallen creature. We’d created a big disconnect. God sent Jesus to be our means of reconnecting with Him. Christmas is a message of reconciliation—bringing two back together. God was reconciling the world—you and I—to himself in Christ (2 Cor. 5:19).

Reconcile means to bring into harmony, to settle a dispute and to remove hostilities. It involves restoring a relationship broken by stubbornness, selfishness or sinfulness. It’s two people reconnecting.

So, if reconciliation is the true spirit of Christmas, what would it look like to reflect this in your marriage at Christmas? It may be time for you to make that bold, first move.

I call it the best Christmas gift for your spouse—the gift of RECONNECTION.

Reconnection is needed when you have drifted apart. Life gets crazy busy and the ‘us’ time gets squeezed out of your schedules. That’s happened to Donalyn and me way too many times. We let life get so hectic that the dating game has all but dried up. Further, life stresses and challenges can create misunderstandings or disagreements that have left you feeling hurt and disconnected. We’ve had those times too in our marriage when the relational gap feels more like the Grand Canyon. It’s time to make your move. Give the gift!

I’m not trying to say that you should wait for Christmas to initiate a fresh start in your marriage but I am saying you should not let Christmas go by without giving the gift of reconnection—genuinely hitting reset—after all, it is Christmas.

Here are the basic steps in giving this gift. It will breathe life into your marital relationship. Whether the gap between you is small or great, the issues are few or many or the atmosphere cool or warm, someone needs to get things started toward reconnection. Prompted by God’s heart at Christmas, why not take your best shot at making this happen? You’ll never regret going into the New Year with a ‘clean slate’ with each other. Give your gift in a card, wrap it as a present, share it on a walk, or offer it on a dinner date. Take a specific step to reconnect. Here’s how.

Clear the Air

Don’t think I’m gross but nothing calls for a quicker reaction then when one of your kids passes gas in the fully packed family minivan on a California vacation. We’ve all been there! Family members moan and gag as they dive to open the power windows. Who cares if it’s hot enough outside to fry an egg. Clear the air or die! If your relationship is suffocating because of a growing staleness between you – someone has to be the first to reach out and create a breath of fresh air. Lead with forgiveness. Don’t wait to be asked. Better still, own your junk and actually apologize. Say you are sorry. Enjoy the freshness of wrongs being made right. If needed, get an outside mediator to help you clear the air. Focus on the commitment that no problem between you is greater than the love within you.

Drop the Edge

The fresh air turnaround will start to have real meaning with a genuine attitude change. Face it. It’s all about your ‘tone’. Words carry little meaning when there’s an edge between you. You instantly read each other’s every gesture and nuance through a negative filter and can so easily reply with harshness, impatience, sarcasm and judgment. The relational push and pull goes on and on. You’ve both lost all grace toward the other. You are looking for your spouse’s screw-ups like a child scouring the grass for a dropped loonie. We are often thinking the worst of them before they even speak. Like a glass filled to the brim, your bitterness spills out disproportionately with the slightest bump like it’s a capital offence. You’ve long quit responding – you are now just reacting! STOP! Ask God to humble you. Soften your hearts toward each other. It’s often pride that let’s you think they are so wrong and you so right. Drop the edge and lead with warmth and kindness. This change will feel really weird and good at the same time. But stay with it. When you do react—ask yourself WHY? Discontinue blaming your spouse for your negative interaction.

Take a Stand

Decide that you are once again committed to your mate. Fight for your marriage not against each other. Determine you are going to make your marriage a new priority in the coming year. Agree to anchor your marriage on the solid rock of Jesus. Braid Him in by faith in every way you can. Commit to make you marriage better together. And then, say it to your spouse with words like “I love you and am not going anywhere.” But also say it by making an effort. Work to show your love. Put your marriage in your schedule. Drop some of your activities to create ‘us’ time. Discuss what changes need to be made and then be a good sport and do more than your part. Start praying together. Why not consider renewing your vows privately over dinner or on a walk – just between the two of you. As you move forward living out this gift, as Dr. Steven Stosny says, “base your decisions on what you value not on what you feel”. You do value your spouse. Live that. I’ve said it for years. You’ll never regret putting your marriage and family first. That’s God’s way.

I’d love to hear from any of you that decide to give the best Christmas gift to your spouse—the fresh start of Reconnection. I promise you, I will give this gift.

© Dr. Dave Currie – November 2016

Image used with permission by© Kalim