Tag Archives: 1st Year of Marriage

1st Year of Marriage: Home for the Holidays

I am so blessed to know several newly-wed couples this year, including a few that Shane and I have been blessed to stand with as they committed their vows together. This series is all about those fun things that pop up once the honeymoon has ended. I hope to encourage all newly weds, (and oldly-weds) to keep seeking Christ in their marriages.

How are you struggling to survive THRIVE in your first year of marriage? Send me a message and I’ll do my best to discuss the issue.

Today’s topic is: Redefining “Home for the Holidays”

thrive home 2

Christmas is only a few days away. If this is your first year of marriage, you are probably trying to make an all-inclusive plan to visit everyone for the holidays… and still enjoy your first Christmas with your hot hubby.

The big question is…. “Which home will we visit?”

If you live quite a distance from either set of parents, this can be difficult. As I described in my last First Year of Marriage post, it has always been a relay race since both of our families live in the same town.

One way or another, one of you will probably end up missing out on a family tradition you always looked forward to. Not feeling sentimental? Then one of your families is going to miss out on having you for their big family dinner/gift-exchange/Home-Alone reenactment [poor uncle Joe], etc.

All of these stressors can add up quickly during the season, particularly if you are traveling. Then Bing Crosby’s voice rings through the radio and you are sniffling about how you don’t feel “home for Christmas.”

There is some great advice out there—build new traditions and accept your spouse’s old ones—which I will not repeat. Rather, I would encourage you to embrace a greater perspective about your first Christmas as a married couple:

Find your “home” in your husband.

You have probably been working on your sense of “home” all year. I remember trying to make our new apartment feel like a home. And then starting over with the next place. But Christmas rolled around and I really missed my moms cookies, my dads big laugh at the newest blockbuster, and my sisters’ excitement to open Christmas presents.

It took me MORE than a few Christmases to learn that Shane is my home. And I am his home.

It is not in the lights, decorations, and traditions that give me the warm feelings of knowing I am “home.” Rather, I understand my belonging when I look into my husband’s eyes and realize what a life we are building together.

In truth, “husband-is-home” is an applicable picture of heaven: as the “bride of Christ,” our sense of home and belonging should be found in God’s heart. We must detach ourselves from the comforts and traditions we have “growing up” in this world, that we might be fully satisfied in Christ. We don’t know what our home in heaven looks like, but we know what God’s heart looks like (by studying the Word of God). His heart can be our sense of “Home,” from now till eternity.

Shane and I before we got married...
Shane and I before we got married…

When I see my husband as my “home,” I am glimpsing the heart of God’s purpose for marriage. We are to be a reflection of Christian’s relationship with Jesus (see Ephesians 5).

Christmas is perhaps the best time to truly define your sense of “home” together as a married couple. I get to spend the rest of my life with Shane. Some Christmases we will be at my parents, other’s we will be at his. Still many more to come will probably be snowed in our little house in the shadow of our favorite mountains. I can’t wait for the Christmas we get to spend on the beach in New Zealand or South Pacific (hey, a girl can dream).

Regardless of where we are… as long as we are together, I’ll be home for Christmas.

Stay tuned for more posts on how to Thrive in Your 1st Year of Marriage.

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

How to THRIVE in your 1st Year of Marriage: Christmas Expectations

The year I was engaged to Shane, I was so excited to be married. Everyone told us “the first year is the hardest.” Well, I was anxious to prove them wrong.

The first year passed, and it ROCKED! (Take that, naysayers!)

But then the second year passed, and the third…. and I realized that what everyone said was true. That first year was awesome, yes, but it actually was the hardest (thus far). Thankfully, I learned some pertinent lessons along the way, and I hope to share them with you, my engaged and newlywed friends.

How are you struggling to survive THRIVE in your first year of marriage? Send me a message and I’ll do my best to discuss the issue.

Today’s topic is: Christmas Expectations.

The Rosty’s 1st Christmas

Our first Christmas together kinda creeped up on us. The holidays arrived after 6 short months of marriage. I had an idyllic idea of how it would go:

  • Decorating the tree while listening to romantic Christmas tunes.
  • A snuggly vintage movie night with hot-cocoa, adorable Christmas sweaters, and my AMAZING homemade Christmas cookies.
  • Enjoying all the other traditions with our families (driving to see the lights, Christmas eve candlelight service at church, gift-exchange, etc.)

1st Rule of a healthy marriage: communicate!!! I assumed  Shane wanted the same things. Alas, I was mistaken. Our 1st Christmas was not what I expected:

  • Shane pulled out the Christmas stuff after a meeting with our college student ministry team. I watched with stifled jealousy as 8 college kids hung lights and decorated the tree with my husband.
  • I also didn’t grasp the massive undertaking that is baking Christmas cookies. I spent WAY too much money, made a huge mess of the kitchen, and burnt half of the cookies.
  • We spent most of Christmas Eve and Christmas day in the car, driving back and forth between my parents, my in-laws, our grandparents, and siblings houses trying to snatch pieces of Christmas traditions from each home.

At one point, the disappointment burst out of me like a raging Grinch-storm of unmet expectations. I totally blind-sided my sweet husband who was enjoying the hustle-bustle of our 1st Christmas chaos.

Thankfully, Shane was SUPER gracious to me. After I explained everything that disappointed me, he apologized (though he didn’t need to), and gave me an attitude check. Eventually, we put some compromises in place for next year.

Now, my expectations are much different:

  • It turns out, I love decorating with our students. We made it an annual tradition: the Decorating Party at the Rosty’s. We laugh so much as we decorate cookies, the house, and the tree together.
  • I also fell in love with car-time with Shane. We have the best conversations sitting side-by-side on the road. The intimacy of hearing his heart is worth the hours to and from family gatherings.
  • We have learned to embrace “romantic” Christmas stuff in the days leading up to Christmas day. I try to get all Christmas busyness (shopping, baking, parties, etc.) done several weeks before. By the time our students leave for Winter break, we have a cozy home and plenty of down-time to focus on our marriage.
  • I make a point to communicate my expectations AHEAD OF TIME! I also try to let go of my assumptions, embrace new things, and enjoy HIS expectations for the season as well.

Perhaps the single most important lesson I learned through this season was my definition of “home.”

Stay tuned for another post on Thrive in Your 1st Year of Marriage: Home for the Holidays.

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0