Tag Archives: christmas and marriage

5 Ways to Make the Holidays Good for Your Marriage

It was about a month ago that a fellow marriage blogger reminded me that this was the time to start writing Christmas posts. She followed up by saying that October would be fine too. My response? “October?! Who are these heathens?”

Blog post title + couple in winter clothes sitting on park bench with a present

Personally, I like to focus on Thanksgiving before moving on to Christmas, and I’m also known to be a last-minute gal in many areas of my life, including holiday shopping. I barely know what I’m doing tomorrow, much less exactly what’s happening in December 25.

And all the pressure of the holidays feels more stressful than delightful at times. I admit to having a few Grinch moments even, when I walk through a crowded store in December and think, “Oh the noise! Oh the noise, noise, noise, noise!

But the holidays present an opportunity to be particularly generous, to spend special time with family, and to focus on people in need and ones we love. All of those apply to our marriage. So, whether you’re as excited about Christmas as Rudolph or a little Grinch-like at times, how about five ways to make the holidays really good this year? For you and for your marriage.

1. Talk about what Christmas means to you.

I originally wrote talk about your expectations, but that’s only part of the equation. Yes, you should talk about where you two should spend Christmas Day, what kind of presents you want to give and get, and what traditions you want to establish or leave behind. But what really makes a difference in what you and your spouse decide to do for Christmas is what these choices mean to you.

Let’s pretend my family had a tradition of opening all the presents on Christmas morning, but my husband’s family opened one on Christmas Eve. We could negotiate that on the face of it and decide Christmas morning makes the most sense after all. But if he explains that one year, his uncle had an early morning Christmas accident and gifts were postponed until the following day, and so the only gift he had on Christmas Day was the one he opened the evening before … suddenly, I get it. I know what meaning that Christmas Eve present has and why we should continue that tradition.

It needn’t be anything that drastic, but discuss what meaning you ascribe to the decorations, events, and traditions you desire for the holidays. Talk about your deeper beliefs and feelings and then bless each other by embracing what gives your spouse special joy this time of year.

2. Know your mood triggers.

Despite Andy Williams singing, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” the Christmas season isn’t all joy and happiness for everyone. Rather, the holiday season can cause negative emotions and moods. It’s important to recognize what your triggers are and then do something to manage them.

Perhaps you know this season will stir up grief about the absence of a loved one, or you struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that most often occurs in wintertime, or the sheer amount of to-dos overwhelm you with stress. Once you become aware of your triggers, you can take steps to deal with those issues. Maybe you need to simply clear some time to visit the grave of a lost loved one or make freezable meals in advance to get you through a calendar of work overtime.

Just as important is considering what your spouse’s triggers are. How can you help them deal with any negative emotions or moods that might visit this holiday season? Where can you be a balance and a blessing for your beloved? Consider how you can be his ezer kenegdo (Genesis 2:18), and then be that strong helper.

3. Say no so that you can yes.

I had an epiphany a few years back: I didn’t have to go to every Christmas event to which I was invited. This is hardly an earthshaking revelation, but to me it was a big deal. We came to realize that we had to say no to some things in order to say yes to having enough time with each other and our sons.

Likewise, you don’t have to bring cookies or cupcakes to every holiday activity that wants them, be it your kids’ school, your workplace, or a church activity. You don’t have to volunteer for every Christmas service project. You don’t even have to buy presents for every single person you did before. I’m not saying to shirk off the whole holiday season, but rather be intentional together in picking and choosing what you can and will do.

Make sure your choices align with what’s good for your own family and your marriage, not to mention your marriage bed. Too often, we get wrapped up in saying yes to everyone else that we’re out of energy altogether when our spouse would love to hear a yes to sexual intimacy. Think carefully about which yeses really matter and in which areas you can just say “no, thanks” this year.

4. Consider your love languages.

My top two love languages are Quality Time and Physical Affection, while my bottom two are Acts of Service and Gifts. Unfortunately, too many Christmases have focused on those bottom ones — with me running around doing things for people and agonizingly trying to find the right gift for each recipient. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Take stock of the love languages both you and your husband use. Then choose holiday activities that speak to those love-tank fillers. If one of you (or both) is a Quality Time person, schedule a time to attend a Christmas concert or the Nutcracker, take a drive and look at holiday lights, or head to a Walk Through Bethlehem event. If you’re about Acts of Service, work together on a service project like serving in a soup kitchen or putting together a Samaritan’s Box and look for ways to serve one another throughout the season.

I could go through more ideas for the other love languages, but you get the idea. Paying attention to the ways you express love and feel loved will keep your love tank filled during the holiday season.

Keep your love tank filled during the holiday season... Click To Tweet

5. Remember you still need romance and sex.

I put romance and sex together because they feed off each other, don’t they? And they both often get a backseat at holiday time. Consumed with to-dos, family gatherings, holiday events, and preparing meals that would make Ina Garten applaud, we can forget to pay attention to our Mistletoe Mister. But you can’t put your intimacy on a back burner for 4-8 weeks a year and expect a good result.

You can't put your intimacy on a back burner for 4-8 weeks a year and expect a good result. Click To Tweet

The word “Christmas” shouldn’t be synonymous in your spouse’s mind with “not getting laid for a month.” Nor should you skip investing in affection, flirtation, and romance that makes you both feel more linked and loved. Set aside time and make the effort to reconnect regularly with both romantic interludes and sexual intimacy.

If you want inspiration, check out the many dating your spouse posts from The Romantic Vineyard. And here’s my post on 10 Intimate Things to Enjoy for Christmas. Or hey, grab a copy of my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous, this holiday season and read it together for some spicy ideas for your marriage bed.

I’ll be back soon with some practical Christmas ideas, but I wanted us to start with thinking about how to make the season as a whole something we look forward to, embrace with joy, and treasure for the good it does for our marriage as well as others.

10 Ways to Stop Being a Scrooge in Your Bedroom

It’s the season of joy, peace, and love! Except that some couples are not getting much of that in their marriage bed. Instead, one or both spouses are Scrooge-like this time of year — withholding sex or enthusiasm. Here are 10 ways to stop being so stingy and enjoy a little more holiday cheer in your bedroom!

10 Ways to Stop Being a Scrooge in Your Bedroom

1. Remind yourself of the Reason for the Season. Look, I’m a Grinch by nature. I think the Christmas season gets way too much focus, and I struggle every year to get into the holiday spirit. So if you’re struggling with your mood too, I completely get where you’re coming from.

But you know why we celebrate Christmas at all? It’s not because Mary and Joseph marked December 25 on a calendar as Jesus’ birthday. It’s because we’ve set aside this time to celebrate our Savior taking on flesh and beginning His earthly mission to save us — out of His amazing love. Whenever you feel annoyed by something during the holidays, including your spouse, remind yourself it’s about love.

Keep that forefront in your mind, and commit to displaying Jesus’ love to your spouse this holiday season. Your attitude is where your holiday spirit can begin.

2. Get something for each other before Christmas arrives. Since this is the time of year for extra generosity, start with your spouse. While hunting down Christmas gifts, find little love reminders to trade ahead of time.

Bring her home some flowers or a pretty nightgown. Give him some silk boxers or a picture of yourself in that pretty nightgown. Write a holiday-themed love poem for your beloved, like:

Poinsettias are red
Garlands are green
But you’re the best Christmas gift
I’ve ever seen

3. Decorate your bedroom. We decorate the living room and other places around the house. Why not spruce up the bedroom with some holiday touches? Maybe a garland around your bed frame, a holiday-scented candle for the nightstand, a small lighted tree in the corner, or cozy Christmas bedding.

In my home, when the cold weather comes, we slip on our flannel sheets, and both of us are more eager to slide under the covers and cuddle up together. Take a little extra time to make your bedroom an inviting place.

4. Play sexy Christmas music. Get yourself in the lovemaking mood with some holiday-themed music that makes your heart and your libido grow three sizes. Try my Christmas intimacy playlist or create your own.

Extra points for slow-dancing with your beloved to the music. Clothes optional.

5. Make time for lovemaking. Yes, we know you’re busy and stressed. There are 1,572 things left to do before December 25. How can you possibly add “sex” as item #1573?!

Find. A. Way.

Do more shopping online. Bake fewer cookies. Buy cupcakes for the holiday party instead of making them. Even skip that party you didn’t want to go to anyway. Find somewhere, somehow to cut back and make time for the two of you to make love. It will refresh you both and maybe even give you a little more pep to get things done this holiday season.

6. Send the kids to Grandma’s. She wants to see them anyway. Or look for other opportunities for your children to engage in holiday fun with family or friends that leaves you and your spouse open for private time together.

One church I attended put together a babysitting night for children run by teenagers in the congregation. Couples dropped off their kids and went to do holiday shopping. Well, sometimes we went holiday shopping, and sometimes we just went home and enjoyed other pleasures. But feel free to find someplace for the kids to go so you can hang onto your couple time and keep the bedroom fire burning.

7. Buy holiday-themed lingerie. I’m not saying you have to dress like a Sexy Santa or Erotic Elf, but there are some fun Christmas underthings and sleepwear. Keep your marriage bed festive by adding some red and green to your only-for-my-lover attire.

Or simply wrap a Christmas bow around whatever you’re wearing and let your honey unwrap you tonight.

8. Hang mistletoe, right above your bed. Does anyone else remember teenage guys pulling out mistletoe and trying to get kissed? Mistletoe seemed to be everywhere. And now that I have a man I daily want to kiss, I don’t seem to see it anywhere.

Why not grab a bunch of mistletoe and hang it in your bedroom? You can put it right over your bed or another strategic location and invite your own little Kiss-mases.

9. Do something extra for your low-libido spouse. If your spouse is already low on the sex drive scale, he/she is likely more overwhelmed during the holidays. Offer to relieve that stress in whatever way truly helps your spouse.

That could mean taking care of the kids to let her have a little time for herself, giving him a massage at the end of a long workday, offering to bring food home to avoid having to cook dinner. It could be more quality time, affection, or words of affirmation. Whatever it is that helps your particular beloved feel re-energized, do it. It’s the loving thing to do, but it might have the added benefit of allowing him/her to refresh enough for bedroom activities.

10. Play hooky one day. With the busy days, bustling crowds, and holiday stress, taking some hours off work or from other obligations may be exactly what you need. Take off a morning or afternoon to spend time together. Grab a long lunch, and make it a “nooner.”

Devote specific time to be intimate together, even clearing your calendar for a few hours to make it happen.

With all the tension of the holidays, it can be easy to shove aside your sex life. But ban the Scrooge from your bedroom, and enjoy the goodwill of sexual intimacy together this season!

Love & Sex Coupons for Christmas

Why not add one more thing to the stocking or under the tree? Christmas is a time of love and joy, and God has blessed us with marriages in which we can experience a special kind of love and joy.

To print out, click HERE.

For a little more romantic inspiration, see last year’s Christmas card (also Song of Songs themed) by clicking HERE.

Merry Christmas!