Strained Relationships

No doubt you’ve already heard songs like “Joy to the World,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

But if you have strained relationships in your life, this Christmas will be anything but joyful or merry.

Since we live our lives in the context of relationships, we must ensure that we have healthy relationships with our family members, friends, and those with whom we spend our time.

Here are three practical things you can do to be intentional with your relationships during the Christmas season.

  1. Take time for your loved ones. We all know this is good advice. But with all the special activities that take place during the holidays, we often rob our families of our time. It’s easy to overbook yourself. Be intentional about setting aside time to be with your family. Mark Twain once said, “We are always too busy for our children; we never give them the time or interest they deserve. We lavish gifts upon them; but the most precious gift, our personal association, which means so much to them, we give grudgingly.” If you have children, give them your time. Pray with them before bedtime, read stories to them, memorize Bible verses, and watch your favorite Christmas movies with them – the important thing is to make it a priority to spend quality time with those you love.
  2. Set boundaries. Much of the stress we have during the holidays relates to our busy schedules. Set some clear boundaries. You do not have to say “Yes” to every party or program to which you are invited.  Is your presence at your co-worker’s holiday party as important as helping your spouse wrap gifts?  By setting boundaries on how you spend your time, you will show the people you care about that they matter enough to give them the best of your time. But you have to set clear boundaries.
  3. If your relationships start to feel strained, do something about it. Don’t wait until your frustrations with others lead to anger or hurts. If you feel there is a strain in a relationship with your family member, friend, or co-worker, talk to the person. If someone has wronged you, decide to forgive that person – even if the person hasn’t asked for forgiveness. When you are quick to forgive, you are being just like Jesus, who is always quick to forgive our sins.

This year, you can keep your Christmas merry and joyful as you decide to make those you love your number one priority. Be intentional about all of your relationships – at Christmas and throughout 2014 – and have the best year ever!

Intentional ONE THING Challenge

If you could do ONE THING and know that it would make a significant, lasting, possibly life-changing difference in your life, would you do it? Dr. Carlson shares the power of ONE THING and why you should get started doing your ONE THING today.

Tell Us

Do you keep those you love at the top of your priority list? How does it help in your relationships? We’d love to hear your stories. Post your comments below.

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