The Best Present is to Be Present

Oh the bustle, the hustle, the absolute craziness of this holiday season!

There are so many things to do and people to remember! There are decorations and food and arrangements. And the easiest thing, the easiest person and relationship to put on the back-burner is your spouse.

We have some tips for a fabulous, less-relationship-stress, loving holiday season so that along with the pretty wrapping paper and beautiful lights, you can also experience connection and joy with the one whom your soul loves.

The very best present is to be present: Not just physically there in the room while decorating the tree, or pushing the cart while looking at your phone. It is intentionally setting all else aside and being in the moment at hand. Jere and I can’t do this all the time, but we have found that a small amount goes a long way. Be sure…this is one present that is absolutely priceless and only YOU can give your spouse. Keys: no electronic distractions, eye contact, rid yourself of other thoughts and concerns, gentle touches

emotional connection

Work out the details: Right now, today, make sure you two are on the same page. Is it important to go to all the school things together? What about family parties and office parties? Is buying a tree, cooking meals together important? Do you divide and conquer on gift buying…gift wrapping? Share your expectations and agree to what works between you…and remain flexible in the case of last-minute change! Keys: be honest with your needs and expectations, allow for negotiation, remain flexible and communicate proactively

The dollars and cents of it all: We recommend that you agree on what financial investment you are going to make this holiday season. Try to consider all the expenses: travel, food, decorations, presents…your list may be far bigger. And along with the budget, talk about who will take on those purchases. Set expectations before the moment gets heated! Keys: allow for each other’s money stories (debt averse? Big spender?), google and online shopping can be a third partner, remember that grocers now deliver, and keep your sense of humor

Fight for the margins: We all need margins. We need some white space around the edges of our really crowded lives so we can breathe, and renew. Help each other find those margin moments, and determine that you will have a few together, too. Keys: take a few minutes EVERY DAY to look at schedules – and schedule in margin moments, be fierce about self-care and couple-care, say NO and stick to it

Keep love front and center: You two are together because you love each other. Even if that is hard to see at times, it is why you decided to become an us. Dedicate this season to loving well. Leave a note for your spouse under their pillow. Send them a Christmas card, in the mail. Offer to take one of the jobs they agreed to (see above) off their list. Speak to your partner in their love language. All of these things…they pay off in spades. Actually, they payoff in love, intimacy, passion. Keys: when you feel the prompt – DO IT, stay kind, be generous and speak to them in a way they can hear

This is the season of wonder, joy and delight. It is the season that we celebrate a miracle fulfilled despite all odds. It is when we recognize that God loves beyond reason or imagination and He took on humanity – all for us. We invite you to reflect on this internally, and then reflect it in your heart and actions. We are pretty confident that if you do, you will experience wonder, joy and delight. Here’s to living a connected, passionate, loving marriage!

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Living the Unboundedlife,

Susan and Jere