Our marriages deserve our very best, not just the dregs of ourselves. Take the opportunity this Christmas season and New Year to establish better habits and re-prioritise your loved ones.

It’s that time of year again — the season of joy and gluttony. By the time Christmas Day is over, our refrigerator will be filled with yummy, delectable leftovers.

Unfortunately, not all leftovers are so delicious. Too often in a marriage, instead of our best selves, we serve up the less than appetising leftovers. We give the best of ourselves to our jobs, our children, our community commitments or our recreational passions… and our marriages get the dregs. Sometimes even the television and social media get more of our time and attention than our spouse.

What are your priorities?

Make no mistake — these other things are all excellent pursuits and are worthy of our time and attention. The issue is not whether or not we have these other interests, but where they sit in our priorities.

The reality is, there are limits to our resources. Try as we might, we can’t stretch out the day to capture more hours, and we can’t give our 100% attention to more than one person or activity at a time.

Most of us treat our homes as the place where we can collapse in an exhausted heap at the end of the day; a place to relax and re-energise. A home is like a welcome refuge, the place where we don’t need to perform or excel.

We also do the same with our marriages.  However, like our homes, our marriages require care and maintenance to be able to provide this support base.

Choice Cuts or Soggy Left-Overs?

We’re all guilty of taking the other’s support for granted, of living off the goodwill of our spouse and family without reciprocating enough of ourselves. When life gets really busy, in our goodness we start to forgo sleep and healthy eating, medical checks and haircuts, as we down-prioritise them in order to meet some of our family obligations.

It’s a great intention, but again, it’s not our best. We’re serving up soggy leftovers instead of the choice cuts. Other things are still getting the better part of us.

After a while, the neglect of these basics exponentially erodes our capacity to be at our best. Sleep deprivation and fast eating, neglected health and poor grooming make us an unattractive, grumpy presence.

New Year, New Priorities

Christmas and New Year are a wonderful wake-up call that invites us to re-evaluate our priorities. The humble simplicity of the Christ in a stable can help us refocus on enduring values.

Do we really need all that stuff, all that activity, all that distraction? And while any time is a good time to make a new start on a worthy program of transformation, a New Year gives added energy to the task.

So resist the tendency to live in a soggy left-over marriage and instead, give your spouse the best part of you — it’s is surely the best kind of Christmas present you could ever give.

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Originally published at SmartLoving. Photo by Nicole Michalou from Pexels.

About the Author: Byron and Francine Pirola

Married for 25 years, with 5 children, Byron & Francine Pirola are the founders and co-authors of the SmartLoving Series – marriage enrichment and marriage preparation courses designed to help build successful and resilient marriages. International speakers and authors of numerous articles on marriage, more than 3000 couples have attended their programs, workshops and conferences in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain Byron & Francine are Executive Directors of the Marriage Resource Centre from which they run SmartLoving programs and produce digital resources. Francine graduated from Fordham University with a Masters in Religion and Religious Education. Byron is a founding partner of the strategic consulting firm, Port Jackson Partners Limited, and a Director of both listed and unlisted companies. He holds a PhD from the Commonwealth Centre for Gene Technology, Adelaide University.

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