Honoring Our Husbands as We Celebrate Christmas

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Many of us LOVE Christmas time.    I do!

  • the songs about Jesus’ birth
  • the festive decorations
  • the fellowship at church
  • family celebrations
  • preparing gifts for those we love
  • giving to those in need
  • contemplating Jesus Christ – the greatest Gift of all

There are an infinite number of ways that people celebrate Christmas.  Each culture has its own traditions.  Each family has its own traditions.  Trying to merge your preferences and your husband’s preferences and make all the extended family happy can be a bit tricky sometimes.

I’d like us to keep a few things in the forefront of our hearts and minds as we celebrate this Christmas season:

  • How can I most honor and glorify Christ?
  • How can I honor my husband?
  • How can I bless others?

I pray that God might help us to see our hidden motives and to purify them so that these motives – honoring Christ and our husbands and blessing others – are our primary motives.

HONORING CHRIST

I pray that we might:

  • make Christmas about celebrating Him and all He has done for us
  • not become greedy or selfish about getting gifts
  • not become materialistic about how we celebrate with our children or families
  • not get stressed about material things
  • focus on relationships
  • be willing to give up worldly expectations and not put ourselves in a box thinking we HAVE to do what we have always done before
  • focus on experiences together
  • make yummy food, but not overextend ourselves trying to do so much so that we become resentful and grumpy
  • not focus on commercialism and STUFF, but on God
  • find ways to share with those in need
  • find ways to make Christmas Christ-centered for our children

SOME SUGGESTIONS OF WAYS TO HONOR OUR HUSBANDS

  • do not exceed the Christmas budget
  • do not ask him for things that would strain the family’s financial resources
  • do not complain about the budget
  • do not be selfish
  • be flexible and willing to consider his feelings and treat his ideas and preferences like they are important to you
  • be thankful for whatever you are able to do to celebrate
  • share what you would like to do, your desires, your preferences, your feelings in a friendly, non-pressuring way ahead of time with your husband
  • give him plenty of TIME to think about what he wants to do
  • do not argue and fight about issues – talk about things calmly and briefly share your heart and then allow your husband to lead if there is disagreement (unless he is asking you to clearly sin)
  • if he wants to have a different schedule from yours or celebrate in a different way – do everything you can to honor his preferences
  • if there are specific things you would like for Christmas, you can write him a friendly little email/note and mention a few suggestions that you would enjoy
  • share with him things the children might like if you are planning to give them gifts
  • if there are particular things he does NOT like to do – please don’t force those things on him – allow him the freedom to say no and accept his answer graciously
  • check with him before making plans with extended family
  • if there are people in the extended family who tend to attack you, try to stay in the same room with  your husband.  Generally, these people will only attack if they can get you isolated by yourself.  It will take a lot more courage for them to attack you directly in front of your husband.  If they actually do that, you can look to him and allow him to handle it.  This is one way of staying under his covering and protection if there is a hostile environment in the extended family.  Be sure that you are treating his family with respect yourself.  No yelling, screaming, name-calling, blaming, accusing, insulting, criticizing, teasing in a hateful way, complaining or arguing.  Use a pleasant tone of voice.  Extend honor to his family.
  • if he doesn’t want a tree – ok!  Or if he wants a live tree or an artificial tree – share what you would like and why if it is different – but then be cooperative if something is important to him
  • if he likes to have “Santa” for the kids, and you think that is unbiblical – share with him, “I would like the focus to be on Jesus, not Santa.  But if that is important to you, then we will do things the way you prefer.  Thanks for wanting to make Christmas special for the children.”  (Read Romans 14 for ways to handle our husbands having different convictions from us.)
  • if he doesn’t want to have “Santa” for then kids, but you do, please share with him what you would like, but then respectfully honor his desire not to focus on Santa.

BLENDED FAMILIES (some suggestions to consider – you are welcome to share wisdom that works in your family.  I will have a post about dealing with exes in a few days.):

Obviously – things are a lot more tricky when there are exes to deal with.

As much as possible, please seek to honor your current husband’s wishes and preferences.  

  • try to have the schedule your current husband wants to have
  • check with your current husband before agreeing to things with your ex
  • show your current husband that he has nothing to worry about when you do have to speak to your ex, be completely transparent and trustworthy
  • if your current husband would rather be the one communicating with your ex – try to cooperate with what he thinks is best

If you have an ex who is the dad of your children – please seek to honor and respect him, too.  Your current husband needs to have first priority with your respect.  But, your children also need to see you respect their dad, too.

With your ex, some things to remember:

  • use a pleasant tone of voice
  • have a friendly facial expression
  • focus on a desire to be cooperative
  • repay evil with good (Romans 12:9-21 may be a great chapter to read this month!)
  • do not take revenge
  • pray for him if he mistreats you
  • bless him if he curses you
  • do not respond sinfully to any sin he might commit against you – you are no longer a slave to sin!  You have crucified your sinful nature and put on your new nature in Christ!
  • realize that God may want to use your respect and godly behavior and attitude to draw your ex to Himself
  • be flexible!  If he wants the children Christmas morning – ok!  You can celebrate with them Christmas Eve morning or Christmas evening or the next day and make it very special and memorable.  

The greater gift for your children is to have PEACE and harmony between their parents – not which parent is with them for 30 minutes on a certain day when they open stockings.  Of what benefit is it to have a huge fight and call each other dreadful things and yell and scream at each other to try to keep the other one from having the children Christmas morning?  The greater gift is PEACE – not material things and not a certain time on a certain day on the calendar.  Let’s keep our priorities on Christ!

  • THANK HIM for being the father of your children and for being involved in their lives
  • praise him for anything he does right
  • as much as possible, present a united front with him in front of your children
  • do not undermine his parenting in front of the children, if you have a concern, please mention it to him in private (maybe after discussing it with your current husband)
  • do not call him ugly names
  • do not use a hateful tone of voice
  • do not criticize him and cut him down
  • encourage him, build him up and use your words to give life

RELATED

Why Won’t He Protect Me from His Family?

Respecting Your Husband around Extended Family

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Some suggestions  to consider for honoring your husband at family get-togethers (you are welcome to share tips on these issues that work in your marriage!):

– Smile and look at your husband when he is talking and listen to him with interest.

– Don’t interrupt him.

– Don’t correct his story-telling.

– Don’t tell him how to drive unless he specifically asks for you to be the navigator.  But even then, please don’t critique his driving skills.

– Let him decide what to eat and don’t lecture him or give him THE LOOK!

– Allow him the freedom to go talk with the men if he wants to or to watch the football game he is interested in.  You can ask for what you want, “I’d love for you to sit with us in the other room for awhile, please” with a pleasant, friendly tone of voice.  But then be gracious no matter what he chooses to do.

– If you feel that people are getting nosy and asking things you don’t want to answer and you feel stressed out, “When are you having a baby?  Are you ever going to get pregnant?”  or other personal questions – smile and look at your husband and let him field those questions (especially if it is his family that is asking, there is tension or if you are feeling pressured).  If he’s not there, or you don’t mind answering, then smile and say something to deflect the question, “Children are a blessing, aren’t they?”  ”We’ll be sure to let everyone know if we have any news.”  And change the topic sweetly.

– Praise him genuinely in front of others (not constantly – but a few sentences during the day would be great).

– If there are people who verbally attack you in the extended family, stay in the same room as your husband.  Most likely, these people will only attack you if they can get you alone so that there are no witnesses.

– Do not criticize him, speak negatively of him or use non-verbal disrespect (eye rolling, sighing, looking impatient, scowling, daggers in your eyes).

– Do not join in with other wives bashing their husbands!!!!  Even if your husband never knows about it, putting your man down in front of other people is extremely disrespectful and it will taint your ability to respect your husband.  And – it is sin in the eyes of God.  If the women won’t change the topic off of husband bashing or gossip, go in and join the men!  Or go play with all the children.

– If people want you to commit your family to something, check with your husband first, or if he is there, look at him, smile and let him answer.

– Uphold your husband’s parenting decisions (ESPECIALLY in front of others!).

– Smile and enjoy the blessing of being with your husband and family.

– Do not complain or argue – that ruins your witness for Christ and it can ruin the whole atmosphere for everyone (Philippians 2:14-16a This is a command from God for all of us as believers so that we may shine for Christ!  Great passage to memorize.).

– If a particular family member refuses to allow your husband to come to his/her house – I believe it would be best if you don’t go either.  No need to create a big fuss.  Just simply say, “Ok, I understand.  But if my husband isn’t welcome, then my children and I are not going to be able to come.”   That is all you have to say.  If they try to engage in an argument, refuse to engage.  Just repeat, “You are free to make any decision you like.  I love you and I really would like us all to be together.  But none of us will be able to come if my husband is not welcome and treated with respect.”  Family is important!  I want you to be able to be with all of your family and to love and enjoy them.  But, if you have to choose – you have a covenant with your husband that you do not have with your family.  Honor your husband first.  Honor your marriage covenant before God first.  Your husband needs to know that he comes before your family – and your family needs to know that, too!  If you do not properly “leave” your family and cleave to your husband, your family will almost always gladly overstep their bounds and become too involved in your life.  They will expect you to put them first.  That is not right.  Your husband is to be your first human priority.

– If a family member of yours disrespects your husband, I would suggest gently but firmly saying, “Please do not disrespect my husband.” Or “Please do not speak to/about my husband like that.”

– If a family member of your husband’s disrespects him – I believe it may be best for him to handle that situation and for you to trust him to handle his own family dynamics.

– Do not be a martyr!  Ask for help if you need it!  If you can’t make a certain dish without feeling resentful – don’t make it!

– Don’t correct his manners.

– Don’t correct his pronunciation.

– Don’t insinuate he doesn’t make enough money.

– Be content with him and what you have.

– Find your strength, joy, identity and purpose in Christ!!

– Don’t try to force your husband (or anyone that is an adult) into doing something they don’t want to do.

– Make sure there will be some of your husband’s favorite dishes if possible.

– If possible, go where your husband wants to go when he wants to go there.  Of course, say what your preferences and desires are – in a friendly, non-pressuring way.  But, it would be awesome if he could have the final say if you can’t agree on the plans.

Remember, ladies, WE have the power to set the emotional temperature for our families.  Let’s use that power constructively to make Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations pleasant, harmonious and peaceful!  It is our choice to make.