Although coined “the most wonderful time of the year,” did you know December is often ranked as the most stressful month? There are presents to be purchased, parties to attend, family to entertain, weather to contend with, and big, year-end goals to meet. Although many look forward to the holidays, sometimes the holidays bring more headaches than joy. And with the added stress, many marriages bear the brunt of the extra strain.
In an attempt to manage stress, we tend to isolate and focus on what is in front of us, defaulting to a selfish way of living without realizing it. We shoulder the pressure alone and forget that God has given us a committed teammate to help us do and be more than we could do or be on our own. What if you and your spouse decided to face the pressure together, by intentionally communicating your needs and choosing to serve one another in response? When we prioritize contributing more than consuming in a marriage, both spouses benefit. Not only does the person needing help receive it, but the person extending help displays a selflessness that fosters joy and satisfaction in a marriage. During a month when consumerism is at an all-time high, we all face the temptation to bring that attitude into our relationships. Don’t take the bait!
Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), and we are reminded in Proverbs 11:25, “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.” The real joy is found in serving, not in receiving. No matter the state of our marriage or our relationships, a bridge can always be built when one person is willing to humble themselves and bless the other. The greatest example of this is demonstrated by Jesus himself, at Christmastime. The Bible reveals the heart of God for mankind when on a starry night in Bethlehem, He humbled himself and came to earth, wrapped in flesh, in order to offer his life in sacrifice for ours. From this example, we too can choose the way of humility and lay down our own lives for one another, especially our spouse.
This December, rather than looking for what you can get, focus on what you can give. In doing so, you just might find your stress levels lessening and your joy rising as you face the challenges of life together.