How to Navigate the Holidays Now that you’re Engaged
Ben assured his mother that he and his fiance, Sarah, would spend Christmas at her house. They were to arrive at 7am to open presents. Then they would enjoy breakfast together. The celebration would continue throughout the day into the evening. Sarah had assumed that they would spend part of the day with his parents and part of the day with hers. Without knowing differently, she told his mother of the split day plans. A dramatic scene developed, complete with tears and guilt trips. How could this disaster have been avoided? Try these strategies for a peaceful holiday season.
Warning! Don’t Accept Invitations without Consultation
Stop. Don’t do it. You’re not single anymore, so don’t act like you are. Your fiancé may have strong feelings about certain holiday traditions. Before it is too late, take time to discuss with your soon-to-be spouse which holidays the family celebrates. Of those holidays, do any specific traditions really make him or her happy? Maybe Christmas morning is not a big deal in your family, but it is super important to him or her. Do either of you want to reserve a specific celebration just for yourselves? If you talk over these issues early in your engagement, you’ll be able to anticipate and plan the holiday experiences more intelligently. What’s more, you can give your family an idea of what to expect.
When the invitation comes, let the person know that you must check with your fiancé first. Don’t forget to show gratitude for being invited. As long as you’re pleasant, no one should be offended. You’re showing respect for your life partner, which is admirable.
Compromise for Peaceful Family Relationships
A good way to start the conversation with your folks may be to ask them how they determined holiday plans as a young couple. This will remind them of the compromises they made and how difficult these decisions can be.
Since you’ve had the talk with your fiancé already, you’re ready to make plans. You should have determined which holiday traditions are most important for you both. One solution would be to alternate holidays with each side of the family. If your families live close by, you may be able to spend part of each holiday with both families. Perhaps your families don’t celebrate the same days, so the decisions are easy. Another answer may be to host certain occasions in your home.
In any event, you must take the time to call or Skype the family with whom you are not able to spend that holiday. You don’t want anyone to feel left out or resentful.
Many problems can be avoided if you take the time learn about your fiancé’s beliefs, traditions and desires in advance. Premarital education guides you through the process. Register for our online marriage prep course to prevent unnecessary headaches and heartaches!
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