Surviving the Holidays with your Spouse – Part 1

Well, there’s no mistaking it, the Holidays are here.  Whatever your Winter Festivities may be, the most wonderful time of year could actually be the most STRESSFUL time of year!  Over the next few days, we’re going to talk about what you can do to help make this (and every) Holiday Season easier to take.  Today, we’re going to talk about GIFTS.


Buying gifts can be hard, and the Holidays only compound that difficulty by taking every person that is impossible to buy for, and lumping them together in the same month of gift-buying necessity.  We’ve talked about some ideas, but I have a feeling that your wife has many of these already taken care of.  You should thank her for that.  If she hasn’t finished everything, she’s probably feeling the weight of every department store on her shoulders right about now.  With all that pressure, it can be hard to not take it out on loved ones (like you).


So what can you do to take some of the pressure off of both of you?  HELP!  Seriously, ask her what you can do to help her.  The key to this is to ask as though you care, and not as if your life depends on it… the tone of this question can be the difference between a few hours of being helpful, and a few hours trying to retrieve a tape dispenser that has been shoved somewhere uncomfortable.  I have faith, GoodHusbands, that you know the difference.  🙂


If she turns down your well-intended offer to help, don’t think you’re off the hook!  Pay attention to what she’s doing – you may find something that you can help with that she either doesn’t think you want to do, or doesn’t think you’re capable of doing.  Do you see many shopping bags filled with un-wrapped presents?  Offer to wrap something!  Wrapping skills leave something to be desired?  Go out and find gift bags and tissue paper – the easiest wrapping tools ever, and ask which ones you can do that way.  What about gift tags?  Can you fill them out and have them ready for her?  Don’t see a lot of shopping bags around?  That probably means that she doesn’t have everything purchased.  Pretend that you’re going to the store for something innocuous and ask if there is anything she needs you to get while your out.


If she refuses any direct help, offer indirect help.  Bring her favorite drink to her while she’s wrapping (ask her where to put it… spilled beverage on gifts will not help the de-stressing cause).  Put her favorite movie on so she has some calming background noise while she’s wrapping.  Also, sometimes the best thing you can do is to stay out of her way.  Take the kids and leave the house to give her the quiet time she needs to wrap the insanity and get herSelf back.  Make or bring dinner to her so that she can celebrate her accomplishment when she finally finishes.


If she’s not done shopping yet, make sure she has a full tank of gas in the car.  There is nothing more frustrating than getting yourself prepared to enter the Field of Battle (the mall) and find out you’re out of gas.  It is truly disheartening.


Most importantly, support her while she’s doing all of this.  The Holidays are the Season of Giving, and she’s Giving all of her time and much of her Sanity to make sure that every obligatory gift is purchased, wrapped, and delivered to both her and your family and friends.  Let her know how much you appreciate the fact that she has taken care of it for you.  Don’t ask why it’s necessary, or how much she spent, or any other questions that invalidate her efforts.  Just gently rub her shoulders, give her a hug, and say thank you.

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About the Author: Abby Dryer's goal in life is to bridge the communication gap between men and women. She finds herself giving lots of marital advice to her guy friends whose wives don’t want to have to explain *everything* to their husbands. “Women are hard to understand. I’m a woman, and *I* don’t even get us sometimes! Goodhusbanding is a great guide to help men understand their women, and hopefully communicate with a little more confidence, because that’s what works… communication!”

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