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    Sandy Cove Blog

    A guest blog from Bruce McCracken, founder of House on the Rock Family Ministries. Over the years, Bruce and his wife Karen have spoken at Sandy Cove couples weekends and served as life coaches at Summer Together Family Camp. They also hold “Marriage Intensive” weekends at Sandy Cove throughout the year, to assist couples in crisis. You can learn more about Marriage Intensives here.

    We’ve all heard that song…"It’s the most wonderful time of the year"…but is it?

    Many of us set high and unrealistic expectations about what our Christmas should look like. Add to that the buying gifts for kids and family, planning family gatherings, work parties and church programs and socials. Wow, sounds like the most hectic time of year.

    Oh, and one other thing: Wives and husbands hope Christmastime will be special for them too, as a couple. But will it be?

    More often than not these overloaded schedules with everyone else’s high expectations and the competing demands of family, friends and workplace associates, Christmastime is stressful for couples. Some wives and husbands feel that at best, they can muddle along until January.

    Many times — patience with each other runs thin for a wife and husband during the holidays. For a variety of reasons, stress gains the upper hand between them.

    – One spouse worries that Christmas is unaffordable. He or she feels stressed-out by the cost of Christmas gifts, travel and entertainment.

    – The other spouse experiences the stress of workplace demands. They often collide with their family’s overcrowded schedule of holiday festivities at school and church, with family and friends, or for shopping.

    – Then there is the stress that is caused by the mere logistics of Christmas. The challenge of finding ways to celebrate with two to four sets of grandparents and extended or step family celebrations can be overwhelming.

    – Jesus gets the back seat. Couples who desire to keep Christ in Christmas cringe when the season’s real purpose gets left in the shadows, eclipsed by so much else that is happening.

    So what can you do to help reduce some of this stress?

    Sit down and prepare a budget. Set a limit of what you are going to spend and encourage each other not to be too impulsive.

    Sit down with your calendar to schedule your activities and work through the logistics. Keep from making last minute crisis-inspired decisions. Keep your priorities of faith and family at the forefront of this process.

    This is a time where you need each other...where you need to be on the same page united to deal with all the stresses and strains that come with this most wonderful time of the year!
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