Encouragement for Your Marriage
A Marriage DevotionalHoliday Stress
While "dashing through the snow" could be written today as "speeding down the interstate to the mall," both statements sound stressful to me.
With the arrival of the holidays, many of us experience an odd mixture of excitement and dread as we prepare to celebrate the season.
We get excited about the lights, shopping and Christmas dinner with family, but we also fear the stress that past holidays have taught us to expect. From previous family misunderstandings and hurt feelings to scheduling conflicts, tight finances and the wear and tear on the body, holidays have a way of taking their toll on us.
I have found that the best way to lessen the stress of the holidays is to be prepared:
- Recognize stress triggers ahead of time, and plan to minimize their impact. For example: Realize that you will get several invitations to holiday parties, events or service opportunities, and limit the number of events you will commit to before the invitations come.
- Create a holiday budget together. Commit to sticking to the budget no matter how great the sales are!
- Try to resolve extended family issues before holiday gatherings, if possible. Sit down and discuss the problems rather than ignore them.
- Commit to dealing with spousal conflict after the emotion has died down: "Honey, we are both tired. Let's not try to solve this now. Let's talk in the morning over coffee." Use common sense, and be disciplined enough to handle conflict in the right way.
- Schedule time for each other: Go to bed at a decent hour. Exercise or take a walk together. Protect your "together" time.
Most of all, remember what this time of year is all about: "But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people… a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10-11, NIV).
That is a great reason to slow down, be thankful and be at peace this Christmas season. As you prepare for your upcoming activities, we hope that the following series of articles will help you stress less and enjoy that peace more fully.
Written by Mitch Temple -- Copyright © 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
Marriage CourseCan Serving Serve our Marriages?
Begins in January 2013
In homes of Marriage Team members
The Marriage Course consists of a 7-session course in the comfort of a host home. You will be served dessert while listening to practical talks that are informative and fun, played on DVD. There is never any group work and you will only share with your partner. The aim is to help couples grow closer and build a healthy relationship that will last a lifetime. For details or to sign up, contact Phil and Kris McWilliams at 612/861-3543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kristen McWilliams
Are you looking for ways to deepen your marriage relationship? Do you need more shared interests, or more conversation topics? Are you prompted by Hope’s desire to go as ambassadors for Christ to where you live, work, and play—and to places yet unknown that God will show you? Then the Marriage Ministry Team has some ideas for you –
There is scientific backing to this concept. At the University, I was trained in one of the primary principles of Occupational Therapy. That is, when people engage in simple activities next to each other, they can often have conversation at deeper, more intimate levels than if they were talking face to face. Never underestimate the value of togetherness in things like folding laundry, weeding a garden, painting a fence or serving our Lord in simple ways (works with your kids, too)! Having a hard time starting a meaningful conversation? Grab a dish towel and dry – see what happens!
This is not a “ploy” to get more church volunteers. This is your chance to look at things a little differently, and see how your marriage may benefit, be strengthened and enriched. Sometimes we might need a one-time shot in the arm. Other times, we may see the value in an ongoing commitment. Always be watchful for how the Lord might offer you a way to deepen your marriage by serving Him together – putting purpose and shared interests back in the limelight! The following are quick, easy and fun ideas to do together:
- At home, serving each other:
- Doing dishes by hand (wash/wipe) – novel idea!
- Folding laundry – do each other’s undies!
- Painting (but be sure you have agreed on the plan beforehand)
- Some unpleasant task neither of you wants to do, but will tackle together
- At Hope Church, serving our congregation and visitors:
- Child care
- Teaching a Sunday School class together (child or adult)
- Grounds care – spring, fall and whenever
- Coffee Cart – you’ll not only talk with your spouse, but maybe new friends!
- Hanging of the Greens and Easter preparations
- Adult class activities that need set up / take down (banquets, auctions, etc.) Look in the bulletin weekly!
- At Community Activities Hope is directly involved in:
- Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People (VEAP)
- Camp Ojibway needs
- Families Moving Forward
- Time for Tots
- Citizenship Classes
- Look in the bulletin weekly!
Don’t forget to consider the other interests you may share such as volunteer efforts in things like politics, the arts, school activities, sports, etc – as long as it is something in which you and your spouse can work relatively side by side. If the work is demanding, or you cannot be physically near each other, this can still be a marriage builder - but only if you set aside time to share your experience and reactions. Get out there and serve together! Have fun!
The Marriage Team is here to serve you!
Paul and Cheri Hansen
Phil and Kris McWilliams
Bill and Barb Nelson
John and Susie Prin
Tom and Shelley Schuenke
Steve and Nancy Staloch
Kim Laufenburger, Staff Liaison