The Holiday Season: Marriage Tips (Part 7 of 7)

Greetings. I will use the word holiday by writing about each letter to give your marriage some tips about how to experience this season. I hope you find these tips helpful. The last letter in the word holiday is Y.

The holiday season usually ends with the recognition of Happy New Year and the start of a brand new year. So for your marriage, the two of you are going to have a new year together here in 2017. But is it going to be a Happy New Year? Similar to Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, the thought and hope is 2017 will be a New Year filled with Happiness. So how will the two of you do this? I want you to think of the story of the Rabbit and the Tortoise. At the start of the year there is this focus on New Year resolutions, goals, and desires that you want for 2017. And many of these New Year resolutions might be a good idea. But here is where the story of the Rabbit and Tortoise comes in.

I don’t know what goals, dreams, or resolutions you may have for your marriage and 2017, but I would encourage you to think like a Tortoise. As you will recall, the Rabbit started off at the line dashing out in front at the start of the race pushing himself to win by going as fast as he could. It is tempting to think and strategize like the Rabbit for your marriage. You sit down with your spouse, come up with 10 goals and quickly get started and try hard to accomplish these goals as you progress throughout the year. Maybe a goal is to get your financial life in line with your spouse being on a budget. Or maybe it is to go on a date each week and you push one another to do this trying to muster up the energy to participate in this each week.

Now all these goals are good, but if you take on the Rabbit mentality of trying hard to accomplish them right away, you may end up defeated. You see, these goals could be viewed as a 100 yard dash and right out of the gate of January, 2017 you start these goals but by February or March you get burnt out or you lose steam. Your intentions for your marriage are good, but the pace of trying to get them done may not work.

Instead, view 2017 as a year in which you participate in the strategy of being a Tortoise. Need I remind you, but in the race between the Rabbit and the Tortoise, the Tortoise wins. Why? Because the Tortoise just stays the course, does not get distracted or run ahead of itself. The Tortoise wins by remaining focused on small goals each day.

So for your marriage, stay the course using the strategy of the Tortoise. Make 2017 the best year ever for your marriage. For example, say to your spouse that the two of you could go on a date once a month. Say to your spouse that twice a month, each spouse is allowed $20.00 to buy something simple but small for your spouse. Each week, maybe each spouse could buy a favorite beverage or special treat at a reasonable price to give to each other expressing your love through a gift.

But the best gift you can give to one another is the power of presence. When both of you twice a week can sit down for 30 minutes having a conversation regarding how the two of you are doing and sharing how trust and love is growing. It is the little things, the words and the presence that you can focus on in acting like a Tortoise that does create a marriage that wins. View 2017 as a marathon and each day and week engage with your spouse by building happiness and security. Resist the temptation to be like a Rabbit and participate in being a Tortoise building a New Year in 2017 for your marriage.

Thanks for reading.

Phillip Kiehl, LMFT #42351
Author of “Creating the Healthy Marriage You Want: Stop Accusing & Start Accepting One Another.”