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Doing Life Together

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, but I felt like a louse!

As I gazed at the packages all in a row, I was aghast!

The tree looked bulimic due to my past.

I slumped to the floor and grabbed hold of my man,

We have only two children. There’s enough here for ten!

 

We stared at the swollen piles of toys

Surely this is too much for one girl and boy!

Slowly we picked through the huge bulging pile,

This one can wait for a little more while. 

One for next year, maybe one for a treat,

Whittling the stack, our eyes again meet,

 

We came to our senses,

We lessened the gifts.

Enough was still there

No one would get miffed!

 

Next year, we pledged

Will be different you’ll see

We’ll keep it in balance

When on Santa’s knee.

 

The season is known for its gift giving treats

But Christ was born, to sin’s great defeat.

The baby asleep in that manager so small

Would bring to us peace and joy for all.

 

Our children will know the true meaning of this,

A Christmas where Christ is truly our bliss.

So gather around that more sensible tree

And remember, Jesus, was born for you and for me.  

By Dr. Linda Mintle

Remember the reason for the season!

 

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Today’s blog is a 30 minute radio show I did on dealing with difficult family members during the holidays. We all have that obnoxious uncle, cranky grandparent or out of control cousin. How do you deal with these people in the season of good cheer? Listen! Click on the picture for tips on surviving the relatives!

Dr Linda radio

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According to marriage researcher, Paul Amato, 60% of divorces in the U.S. are from low conflict couples. This means these divorces were not characterized by abuse, addiction, repeated infidelity, or even high conflict. The marriages just fizzled. Couples stopped paying attention to each other and lost the fun and excitement of relationship. It’s the old, “We are drifting apart,” syndrome.

But the fizzle can easily turn to sizzle with attention and care:

1) Create boundaries around the relationship by reserving time together. Say NO to activities and YES to time alone.If you allow all the distractions of modern living to creep in to your lives, there will be little time for each other.

2) Talk about the relationship becoming mundane and decide to change a few things. Imagine what would add a little zest to the relationship. Novelty revitalizes a relationship. Try new things together. Get out of your routine.

3) Avoid the blame game. It’s the first step towards the slippery slope to divorce.

4) Talk about time for chores, work and tasks around the house. Divide the labor and assign tasks based on skill and what each person likes to do.

5) Control your anger and forgive quickly. Don’t sit on angry feelings and don’t vent them in ways that are disrespectful. Deal with your negative feelings and repair issues quickly. This keeps the emotional bond strong.

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lonelyMillions of people feel depressed when they hear the words to that popular Christmas song: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”.  For many, the holidays are times of loss and loneliness.

If you are lonely, it’s important to first identify the reason for your loneliness. Is it due to the death of a loved one, a recent separation or divorce, a military deployment, distance from family, singleness? The reason may not be immediately changeable, but does require good coping skills in order to avoid sinking in to depression.

Here are 10 suggestions on how to deal with your loneliness:

1. Stay engaged in life.

Don’t isolate yourself. Plan to attend activities that don’t require a partner—a sing-along at church, a cooking demonstration, or a book signing.

2. Exercise self-care.

Get out an exercise. Eat well. Treat yourself to a massage or a good book. Take up a hobby.

3. Get a pet.

Pets make great companions if you can afford them and can work them in to your lifestyle.

4. Develop an attitude of gratitude.

Studies show that focusing on your blessings improves your mood.

5. Lose the self-pity.

There is always someone with a story more desperate than yours. Life is hard and loss happens. God helps us through hardship, but He never promised a life without heartache.

6. Help others.

Serve the homeless, take cookies to the elderly, or organize an event for a nursing home. Because our extended family doesn’t live in the area, we invite international university students who can’t go home for holiday dinners over to our house. Be creative.

7. Rethink your expectations.

With all the hype around the holidays, it is easy to think everyone is gathering and having the time of their life. Assess your situation, make realistic expectations and actively work at them.

8. Evaluate your friendships.

Have you spent time all year cultivating friends? If not, this may be one reason you are feeling lonely. Decide to make changes in the coming year to build relationships. 

9. Do not use alcohol, shopping, eating or other vices to cope with lonely feelings.

When you feel down, write a list of behaviors that are healthy. Your list could include listening to upbeat music, calling a friend, writing in a journal, or reading the Bible.

10. Don’t give in to hopelessness.

Get out your Bible, read the promises of God, pray and worship. God never leaves you and offers His spirit to comfort you.

 
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