Keeping Christmas Merry

Four Expectations to Share with Your Spouse for the Christmas Season

Guest Blogger: Rodney Wilson

Hustle and bustle are alive and well in the 21st century and the holidays seem all too happy to contribute to that fast pace. The craziness is not necessarily a bad thing. My wife loves it. Selma is no Black Friday Freak but she loves mixing it up in the shopping madness to experience the holiday spirit. I am more prone to check out the next bowl game or my latest Baldacci novel.

With office or neighborhood parties, school programs, special church Christmas events, extended family get-togethers plus yet another gift to pick up – it can get crazy, can’t it? It is a classic recipe for stress between husbands and wives that can quickly morph into the saddest of all holiday attitudes – wishing this wonderful season was over.

The busyness of the Christmas season, however, does not have to be unbearably stressful on your marriage. With a little forethought and some communication in the right spots, your marriage can not only survive the holidays but truly appreciate the beauty of the season and Christ coming to us.

I encourage you to hold a “team meeting” with your spouse and clarify your Christmas expectations so you both are on the same page as Christmas nears. Doing so can reduce the stress level significantly.


Here are 4 expectations you need to share with each other as the “hustle and bustle tsunami” approaches:

  1. Share calendar expectations. How many party invitations do you need to accept? Perhaps all of them but agree together. Consider as many calendar items together as soon as you can to see your event load. Then you can commit to the ones you want, or not accept some to let you breathe. It’s okay to say no to some things for the sanity of your marriage and family. Sometimes one “no” can make a huge difference. More is not always better.
  1. Share budget expectations. If you are going to be financially short and this year needs to be a bit smaller for you, it is good to agree on that going into the season. Many couples have a more modest gift-giving budget and yet go into major debt adding to the stress. Wrong. Discuss if you need to get each other one gift rather than 15 this time around. (Did I mention that more is not always better?)Face your financial situation as a marriage team and plan to make it work anyway. Agree that the size of your gifts will not determine your peace and joy of this season.
  1. Share travel expectations. How do you expect to handle out of town extended family this year? Do you expect to visit some or all of them? When will you see them – before, after or on the 25th? Do you expect out of town folks to visit or stay with you? Any other special trips during the holidays you expect to take?
  1. Share spiritual expectations. Do you want to pray more together this Christmas? Want to do the advent candle lighting as a family and teach it to your kids or learn about it as a couple? Which service at your church will you attend? Do you want a special scripture read before you open gifts? (Luke 2:1-21 would be excellent!) How do you expect to celebrate Christ’s birth this year? Talk with each other about how you want to experience God this Christmas.

Finally, check your expectations. When the holidays are said and done this year, you will still have a human spouse. One who will mess up, let you down or forget some gift (the gift!) he was supposed to get. Don’t set your mate (or anyone else) up for perfection this year. You will be the least joyful if you do.


In the midst of our imperfect marriages and families, a wonderful Christmas season is quite possible. How are you going to communicate your expectations this Christmas?

Thanks to Rodney Wilson, my guest blogger this week. I’m grateful for Rodney’s expertise in this area.

ABOUT OUR GUEST BLOGGER: Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.

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