My favorite holiday of the year is Easter. I love it because the day represents the Resurrection of Jesus and the greatest day in history. But I also love it because of its potential for marriages. It is a day that we remember how dim things looked on Good Friday, but on Easter morning, mourning was turned into joy. I see this happen all of the time in my coaching business. Couples come to me in crisis thinking that all is loss, and then they experience the joy of new life in their marriage. As much as I love the day, I also know that Easter can be a very stressful day for families. Many times the expectations of extended family, travel, Easter gifts, big family dinners and the rush of the day can cause significant strain on the marriage. To this end, I would like to offer four strategies to help make this Easter a little easier for you and your spouse.
1) This Easter make your marriage your highest priority. In the midst of trying to make the holiday special for children or pleasing extended family, it is easy to lose the connection with your partner. Make connecting with your spouse your number one priority this Easter. Make sure they know how much you love them and how special they are to you. Modeling this connection is the greatest gift you can give your children and it sets the standard for other people’s expectations of your time and your priorities.
2) Develop an agreed upon Easter plan. Take some time now to discuss expectations of the day. What are your priorities in terms of the day? Is it spending time with family? Attending a worship service? Doing activities as a family? Agree upon the priorities and activities before the day arrives. This will eliminate stress and disappointments the day of Easter and especially the day after Easter.
3) Be comfortable saying “No”. Give yourself permission to say no for the sake of your marriage and your family. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, your spouse and your kids is the gift of not getting sucked into unhealthy family rhythms that do not serve your marriage. I know of some families who have routinely made three to four “mandatory” dinner/party stops every Easter. They hate it, but just can’t say no. Consider saying no this Easter. Chose one and tell the other three that their turn is coming.
4) Consider starting a new Easter tradition as a family. Find one activity that you might add to your day that could enhance your marriage connection and bring your family closer together this Easter.