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Christmas Vacation

By:  Donna Martin

Christmas Vacation, the most wonderful time of the year!  Right?  One of our Christmas traditions is watching the movie “Christmas Vacation” starring Chevy Chase as Clark.  Clark is determined to have the perfect Christmas with his immediate and extended family.  Of course everything you could imagine goes wrong – the tree is too big, the lights do not work, and the house is full of eccentric family members whose personalities would dim the Christmas spirit of any normal person.  But not Clark Griswold, his determination to have the perfect Christmas will not shattered, perhaps because he has the support of his wife, Ellen.  Even in the craziest moments, Ellen is always backing and encouraging Clark.  She is a great example of a wife who shows respect to her husband even when he may not act respectable.

Perhaps you would rather skip your spouse’s family Christmas celebration or even your own extended family’s Christmas celebration.  Maybe it looks a little like the Griswold’s.  All families have different personalities, different traditions, and eccentric relatives.  But be careful not to turn into the Grinch that Stole Christmas when it comes to family gatherings.  What may appear strange to you may be the very thing that someone in the family looks forward to every year.  Part of showing love and respect to our spouse is showing love and respect to his or her family.  Instead of complaining, do your best to be a part of the celebration.  Work the room.  Get to know the family members.  When you really get to know someone, your attitude toward them often changes.  Join in the festivities even if they seem crazy or “cheesy”.  Remember, that you will look stranger if you do not participate because the family will wonder what is wrong with you.

God in his infinite wisdom made us all different.  I think our differences keep life interesting.  If you have difficulty with family members, ask God to help you see them as he sees them.  Jesus came into this world because he loves us all, with all our faults, and quirky habits, and annoying personalities.  So make this the best Christmas ever for your spouse and his family and for your own family.  You may be surprised at how loved you will feel when you begin to let yourself become a part of your extended family.

The Martins are available to present “Happy Together” Marriage Enrichment Events for churches and organizations.  To schedule an event call Michael at 940-735-1515. They are certified “Prepare/Enrich” Facilitators and are available to work with couples on an individual basis using the “Prepare/Enrich Assessment.”  They publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at

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