When You Can’t Find the Merry in Christmas

We just put our Christmas decorations up…five days before Christmas! No, we’re not Scrooges and no, this is not typical for us.

We were going to have the decorations up three weeks before Christmas, but that week turned out to be more demanding than we expected. (Don’t they all?) We did stick a naked tree in a stand that week, but that’s as far as we got. Then my wife got sick a few days after that and has been sick ever since. So all we had was a naked tree in a stand five days before Christmas.

With my wife sick, if there were going to be any Christmas decoration in the house, it was going to be up to me. Right now, all the wives reading this are cringing…and rightfully so. You’re talking about a man who decorated his office with action figures, an Etch-a-Scetch, and a Magic 8-Ball.

What do you do when you can’t find the merry in Christmas?

I put off decorating the house so long that it almost wasn’t worth it. I contemplated not even decorating this year, but I knew that wouldn’t be good for my children or grandchildren.

So about five days before Christmas I took a deep breath, said a prayer, and started pulling plastic tubs of Christmas decorations down from the attic.

Going through all those tubs of decorations we had accumulated over 35 years of marriage was overwhelming and all my internal alarms were screaming “Abort!” But I had to start somewhere, so I started with putting lights on the tree. When I had finished that, I resisted the urge to quit and began putting another type of ornament on the tree…then another…then another…and suddenly the tree was done. It was a little plain, but it was done.

From there, I moved on to setting up a nativity scene, decorating a miniature tree, and setting out some Christmas decor on the mantle. In the end, the decorations were still rather sparse and the house certainly didn’t look as wonderfully Christmasy as it would have if my wife had done it, but it was decorated. Even though I couldn’t find the “merry” in Christmas, I had decorated the house and the “merry” started to come back to Christmas.

By now, some of you may be reading this and wondering, “Are you just trying to pat yourself on the back here, or is there a point to all of this?” Well if you could see the house, you would know I’ve nothing to pat myself on the back about, so there must be a point.

The point is, so many marriages find themselves in the same kind of dilemma. Deadlines, pressures, illnesses, and demands have crowded in and crowded out the “merry” in your marriage. All the other marriages around you seem so bright and festive, while yours feels oppressively plain and drab in comparison. You may even feel like it’s gone on for so long now, why even bother to decorate.

What do when you can’t find the “merry” in your marriage? What do you do when your marriage needs effort and decoration, but you’re just not feeling it? What do you do when it feels like your marriage needs more effort than you have to give it? What do you do when it feels like it’s gone on for so long it’s too late now?

Answer: You do what I did when I didn’t want to decorating the house…you get up and do it anyway. That’s it. No strategy. No three-step plan. Just get up and do what you know you need to do. It may not be perfect. It may even be awkward, but it will be better than not decorating your marriage at all. If you get overwhelmed with all that needs to be done, just start with one thing. Get that down and then move on to the next thing.

It’s never too late to put effort and decoration into your marriage. You will feel better when you do. Your marriage will feel better when you do. Your children and grandchildren (or future grandchildren) will feel better when you do.

So get out the tinsel and light up your spouse. (Which sounds like a completely different post for another time.)

I want these posts to be helpful, so let me know what you think and how I can make them better for you.

Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg 

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