Christmas should be one of the happiest times of the year. Many times, however, we find ourselves grumbling and arguing during this season more than any other.
So what should you do when your seasonal cheer decays into conflict and your Christmas tidings turn to marital tension?
1. Adopt an attitude of gratitude
Many people focus on the negative aspects of life for so long that they have difficulty seeing anything worth celebrating. Developing an attitude of gratitude is one of the most important things you can do to enhance the emotional climate of your marriage.
So how do we develop this attitude? Think back over a day and ask yourself a few questions: “What have I complained about and to whom did I complain? What is it like living with me?”
If you are really serious, ask your spouse, your children, and at least one work associate this question: “What have you recently heard me complain about?” Write their responses down as they share them with you. Often our self-perception is very different from how others see us. If we are going to move from grumbling to gratitude, we have to be honest about our attitude.
2. Appreciate the little things
Verbalize gratitude for the little things in your life. Look around you and verbally thank God for the things you see. It’s a simple thing, but it brings to the front of your mind the many physical things for which you can be grateful.
Each week during the month of December, express gratitude to your spouse and family for something you appreciate about them. If gratitude is going to become a way of life, we must look for the positive things in all of
3. Move beyond “Bah, Humbug!”
Christmas cheer only lasts a few weeks, but the joy that comes from knowing Christ should last year-round. The next time you hear yourself grumbling about something, apologize to those around you. Apologizing for our failures is one of the fastest ways to get rid of a negative attitude.
If during the month of December you replace grumbling with gratitude, you will lay the foundation for a wonderful new year in 2018.
Gary Chapman, Ph.D., hosts two national radio programs and is the author of The 5 Love Languages and marriage conference.