Prioritizing Your Relationship This Holiday Season

Congratulations!: After frantically tracking all the relevant holiday sales, after standing in line for hours on Black Friday, after finding your “must have” gifts for family and friends, you can finally slow down, reflect on and enjoy what the holidays mean to you. 

And does part of the holidays involve celebrating your marriage/relationship? How will you acknowledge what your spouse/partner means to you?

You might think that iPhone or plasma TV is the perfect way to celebrate your relationship, but — no matter how crisp and clear the picture is — it won’t strengthen your marriage/relationship or bring you and your partner long-lasting fulfillment.

Relationship Help: The Gift of Your Relationship

The fact is that many couples simply exchange gifts or cards without some direct acknowledgment of what their partner means to them—it’s as if the love and appreciation they share is implied in the gift-giving. This is a mistake.

Developing non-material rituals to express your love and appreciation is a powerful way to celebrate your union throughout the holiday season (and throughout the year). How you express your gratitude for your partner should be a reflection of his/her uniqueness and the meaning s/he holds for you. Be thoughtful and creative.

One couple I worked with developed an “appreciation ritual.” Each wrote on an index card one thing they loved about the other—in other words, they started keeping a marital/relationship gratitude checklist. As a holiday gift, they committed to exchanging a card per week for an entire year. They had to think of fifty-two ways to communicate love, admiration and respect for one another. This gift had the benefit of nurturing intimacy throughout the year.

Relationship Help Action Step:

Here’s a question that will help you put your marriage/relationship above all material items.

Please reflect on this question throughout the holiday season, and share it with your spouse/partner:

“In this time of love, family and giving, how will you create lasting opportunities to express your gratitude and appreciation of your partner and the relationship that you’ve both created?”

When you’re busy crossing off items on your shopping list, go back to the above question and give it (and therefore your relationship) the attention it deserves.

Happy holidays!

Dr. Rich Nicastro

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