Getting married isn't just about joining two lives- truly, it is the blending of families and the creation of a new one. Finding balance between continuing old traditions and creating new customs is important, especially this time of year. It's exciting to share your family's holiday traditions with your new spouse. It can be hard, though, to join in on a family's established traditions- even in the most warm and welcoming families. Here are 3 ways to navigate holiday traditions as a newlywed:
Be mindful of your new spouse's experience.
The traditions you and your siblings have done for the past 20 years may end up alienating your spouse. Consider how your spouse might be feeling- especially if s/he is spending the holidays away from family for the first time. Have a conversation as a couple before the family gatherings so you both can better understand each other's experiences and emotions.
Consider doing some pruning.
Back in college, I was in a sorority- an institution where traditions abound! But some of them had completely lost their meaning, and we were just going through the motions because it was what we had always done. These things were taking up a lot of our time, and the payoff just wasn't there. Take some time to examine what you are doing and why. If a tradition no longer serves your family, it's okay to stop doing it.
Create some new traditions.
Meaningful traditions have to start somewhere- who knows, if you and your new husband start a new tradition of bringing cookies to your neighbors, your future children may find themselves doing the same with their future spouses and children. Have fun with this idea of creating something new!
How are you feeling about your first holiday season as a married couple? It's normal to be feeling a mixture of emotions- anxious, eager, excited, overwhelmed, sad. If you're having a hard time managing your emotions, consider making a counseling appointment. Short-term or marriage counseling can be helpful in sorting out your thoughts and feelings about this season with your new spouse. Contact me for more information about what type of counseling would be best for you.