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9 keys to surviving (and enjoying) holidays.

It’s that time of year when we’re gathering with loved ones, giving thanks for the blessings in our lives, overeating, exchanging gifts and making memories. It can also be a time of year when financial stress, family drama and the chaos of travel can steal your joy and make you wish you could hop into a time machine and skip the holiday madness altogether.

I don’t know what life looks like around your Thanksgiving table and Christmas tree, but I want this to be a wonderful season for you and your family. After all, it should be “The most wonderful time of the year!”

Here’s a checklist to help you keep your marriage and family strong all season long:

1. Keep a “no drama” policy.

The holidays can throw you around some relatives who might love “drama” and they’ll try to pull you into it. Choose to rise above. Diffuse it with laughter and joy. A healthy family should always have more comedy than drama!

2. Be a peacemaker. 

Christmas, after all, is celebrating the birth of “The Prince of Peace.” In Jesus’ example, work to promote peace in your home and extended family. Offer love and respect to people even when they don’t deserve it. Don’t treat your family the way they treat you. Treat them the way God treats you.

3. Stick to a budget on gifts.

Don’t add unnecessary financial stress by overdoing it on gifts. Your kids and relatives don’t need more gadgets clothes as much as they need you to be at your best. Give thoughtful gifts; not expensive gifts. If you need a fun and inexpensive gift for your husband or wife, Check out these tee shirts.

4. Be present.

Fight the temptation to escape into your smart phone instead of engaging in conversation. It’s possible to be in the same room but in a different world from your loved ones. Be fully present and actively participating in the moments. Make memories, not regrets.

5. Be motivated by love, not guilt.

You can’t be everywhere at once, so there will always be people who are disappointed that you couldn’t spend more time with them. Don’t make your schedule based on trying to make everybody happy (which is impossible). Schedule based on maximizing the moments with your loved ones.

6. Don’t neglect your spouse.

Don’t put your marriage on the back burner through the season. Share the moments together and make time alone together a priority. As a tool to help you grow in your communication and sexual intimacy with your spouse, check out our brand new video series for married couples.

7. Don’t neglect your body.

I love to eat, but when I gorge myself on ice cream and turkey legs for a month, I pay the price! A lack of exercise and a ton of calories ends up making me grumpy and sleepy. Enjoy the good food, but don’t go crazy. Also, find time to get some exercise. You’ll feel better.

8. Have fun!

Refuse to allow stress to steal your joy. Give yourself permission to push away from the stress and enjoy the beautiful moments. Have fun and make beautiful memories.

9. Don’t forget the reason for the season.

The presents and food is awesome, but don’t forget to honor God who makes it all possible. Keeping your focus on Him has a way of bringing everything else into it’s proper place.

For additional encouragement you can connect with me on twitter here, and also check out the resource page by clicking here.

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And if you are struggling with disappointments, setbacks, stress or heartbreak,

please take a minute to watch this short video.

Live Marriage Event in Kentucky on Saturday.

Ashley and I love traveling to see new places and meet new people, but we haven’t been doing much travel lately with the boys in school and Ashley coming into the homestretch of her pregnancy (which is going well. Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement!)

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be back in our home state of Kentucky (Go Big Blue!) this coming weekend for a Live Marriage event at Grace Christian Church in Georgetown (just outside of Lexington). THANKS to Andrew Brown and the great folks at Grace for hosting us again. You guys rock.

You can register for the event by clicking here. 

It’s happening on Saturday, November 22 from 5:00-8:00 pm. The price is $30 per couple which includes childcare and a meal, so it’s a pretty affordable date night! I’ll also be teaching in the services the following morning at Grace Christian Church (which is free and open to everyone).

We’re going to have a good time! There will be lots of laughter plus some practical tools to help you build an even stronger relationship with your spouse. We hope to see you there!

For additional updates, you can connect with me on twitter by clicking here. If you haven’t already, please check out Ashley’s new blog by clicking here.

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