"I Can't Believe He Doesn't Want Fruit Cake at Aunt Martha's!"


"I Can't Believe He Doesn't Want Fruit Cake at Aunt Martha's!"
Don't assume your spouse wants to celebrate the Holidays the same way you do.

"I Feel..." itemizes how you feel when the behavior takes place, and someone of a Feeler Myers-Brigs personality type will identify with this part the most  Again, it's a chance to be transparent, but also if you're not a natural Feeler, to learn to name the emotions.  "...and I feel angry, sad and depressed--like I'm of little value." 

"So I'd like to request..." states right out loud for your partner what you would respectfully request so it's not a "hint" and they don't have to figure it out...just tell them right out loud what would fix it for you!  So you might say "So I'd like to request that you take Christmas Eve and I take Christmas Day" or whatever would work for you.  Also, please not you are being respectful and making a request, not a commandment or "making" them do anything! 


2.  Be fair and hear them out.  This part is pretty hard to do, especially when it sounds like they want to stop doing a tradition that you hold dear, but in the same way that you don't want your own Holiday dictated by someone else, they don't either!  So enter the negotiations with an open mind, and after they have said what they want, repeat it back to them in your own words to be sure you understand what they suggested.  Clarify.  Ask questions to find out intentions.  And you learned it in kindergarten--be fair!

3.  Reach a mutual understanding about which you can both be enthusiastic.  One of the biggest mistakes people make in a marriage is when one spouse or the other will "give in" thinking that it will be their turn next time.  So they agree...and their spouse thinks they were really, genuinely agreeing!   So it is your responsibility to not agree until you hear a solution and think, "Yeah I think that would be okay actually!"  And if your spouse reluctantly says "alright I suppose," don't just assume they agree--keep working until they are enthusiastic in their agreement and it's truly Okay with them.  From the beginning have the agreement between you that you will both be as fair as possible and you will not quit until you have an understanding between you two, and you are both enthusiastic about the solution.  If you two just can not hit an agreement, and it seems like you two are both getting more and more and more stubborn--maybe you can agree on someone you both trust, and agree to both go tell him/her both sides and whatever they suggest, you'll abide by that decision.  

By acknowledging that your spouse may not celebrate the holidays the same way that you do and agreeing to work together on a mutual understanding, you can take some of the stress out of the Holiday Season and focus on the loving and giving!  

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