Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
Old time Christmas songs fill the air, the decorations, the food, the gifts, the excitement of children opening up presents, the smell of Christmas cookies from the kitchen, decorating the tree, throwing one more log on that open fire; it’s that time of year again. The Christmas season is upon us.
The Holidays can indeed be the most wonderful time of the year, reconnecting with family, and the overall festive spirit in the air. But for many of us, navigating the holidays can be quite challenging. Make the wrong move and the experience of the holidays can change from a happy time to a time that can be quite the opposite. For many women, our wives included, Christmas can often be one of the most stressful periods of the year. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that women typically feel a lot more stressed than men and have a harder time relaxing and being able to enjoy the holiday season. While it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, often that’s not the case.
Here at UNCOMMEN we want to help you be prepared to help your wife through the Christmas season this year. Here are four ways you can be an UNCOMMEN husband during the holidays.
Perhaps when your family gathers it is a picturesque scene of perfect harmony where everything goes exactly to plan, and you’re all wearing matching sweaters while singing Christmas Carols and building snowmen together. But maybe your holiday gathering looks more like an episode of The Griswold’s in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Many family members packed into a small space with varying expectations, and all of sudden “Cousin Eddie” shows up unexpectedly. For many households, it’s both a joyous time to gather and but also a time where things can get volatile. This relational tension can be especially hard on wives. Maybe her mom or your mom is criticizing all the things she’s doing wrong (in a passive aggressive way for an added twist.) Here’s what you can do: Watch your wife’s body language, facial reactions, and tone during each of these situations so you can better know how to help her. Help her focus on positive Christmas memories rather than the current stressful time of holiday preparations. Use humor to lighten things up and keep it in perspective.
Roll Your Sleeves Up
During the holidays in our house, my wife’s to-do list gets a whole lot longer, and she has a tendency to want to “do it all.” Time to roll your sleeves up and jump in. Do more than is typically expected of you. Be ready to help with meals, clean the bathrooms, vacuum, fold that laundry. Think of all the jobs your wife normally does and do several of them without her asking, to free up time for her to focus on additional Christmas to-do lists, especially the blessing (challenge) of hosting Christmas at your own home. I guarantee your wife will notice and very much appreciate you rolling up your sleeves more than usual.
A Christmas Date
Break away from all the holiday hustle and bustle for a date. Just the two of you. Growing up, my parents always had this tradition of going out for a “fancier” than traditional Christmas lunch without my sister and I. They would often do it right before the busiest parts of the holiday season and schedule it before they would schedule all the other holiday plans. Now that I have a family of my own, I see how busy the holidays can get. Setting aside a time for just you and your wife for a few hours can be the connection you need. It can be the difference to stay on the same page leading into, during, and after the excitement and stress of the holidays dies down. So get that Christmas Date on the calendar with your wife.
The holidays are an emotional time, and not all the emotions are positives. The holidays can be a season for you or your wife where you think of the loss of family members and memories that have passed. More and more you hear about “the holiday blues” amidst middle-aged families trying to process all the busyness but also heartache and loss. Depression and sadness are more common than many people realize. Be UNCOMMEN and be there for your wife without trying to “fix” everything. Just being there with her is more important than knowing what to say. Sometimes a well-timed hug is worth more than anything you will say to help your wife navigate a loss during the holiday season.
This holiday season, we challenge you as a husband to be UNCOMMEN. We look forward to hearing ways that you can step up and help your wives to make it the best holiday season yet.
Bible Reference: 1 Timothy 3:1–13
About the Author: Sam Casey is the Managing Partner at Banyan Creative based in Matthews, NC. He is looking forward to Christmas this year, and planning to break the record in Christmas cookies consumed in a one week period before committing to a New Year’s Resolution to never do that again.