Okay, so the gifts are bought, wrapped, and stored or displayed as they should be. Now for the next potential nightmare – the Holiday Function. [shrieks and screams in the background] Whether it’s the employer’s Holiday Function, a Latke Party, Cookie Party, or Family Function, danger can lurk anywhere. Not that the December Holidays should sound too much like October, but sometimes ghosts and ghouls would be a nice reprieve from an eternal evening with the in-laws. This is where you and your wife need to have a plan and work together.
Many times, December Functions are the only opportunity we have to see some of the people that are an important part of our lives, but not part of our daily lives. Take the time to appreciate these relationships (it’s up to you whether you appreciate the person, or the fact that this is the only time you have to see them). Try to go in to these functions with a positive attitude, and do your best to have a good time, and do your best to help your wife have a good time – she’s earned the time to relax and enjoy the fruits of her labor this month. However, obligatory events like these can be rough. Family or friend drama can cause an otherwise wonderful and peaceful evening to end in tears and/or the silent treatment for months. While your wife may be putting on a brave face and insisting that ‘we HAVE to go’ – she’s not just trying to convince you… she’s probably as cautiously nervous as you are. Don’t make it more difficult for her by putting her on edge before the event even starts! However, I do think it’s fair to come up with a set of guidelines for the evening.
My husband and I have a system for when things get uncomfortable, and start leaning towards catastrophic-meltdown-with-years-of-therapy. We call it the ‘Yellow Card’. If something happens, or someone says something that makes one of us want to jump out the window, land in the driver’s seat of the car, spin the wheels, and speed away – we put our game face on, look at our spouse and say ‘yellow card’. If anyone overhears the announcement of the card, we have a series of ‘funny stories’ to mask the true meaning, but the flag has been thrown – final warning. Next one, and we’re out!
When my husband calls the yellow card, I do my best to either make peace out of the situation or get ready to leave, depending on if I think he misunderstood the context of what just happened that caused him to throw the card, or if I’m also close to a yellow card. My husband does something similar when I throw the card. The most important thing is to Respect the Card, or Suffer the Consequences. If a catastrophic-meltdown-with-years-of-therapy occurs due to the lack of respect for the card, the disrespecting party has no one to blame but themselves. When it is time to go, whether because it’s late or another flag has been thrown, we have a predetermined agreement as to who’s turn it is to ‘fall on the sword’ and come up with a reason that it is time to go.
Coming in to these events with a positive attitude and a plan can be the difference between Happy Holidays and Seasons Grating-on-my -nerves. You and your wife should approach these situations like the great team that you are, and you’ll survive – maybe you’ll even have a good time!
Happy December Functions!
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!”