Healthy Relationships During the Holidays and Beyond

Relationships 1Holiday Relationships

Relationships lie at the heart of holiday activity. For Christians, that first and foremost means an individual’s relationship with Christ. But we cannot escape that Scripture also advocates for a right relationship with other Christians. We are to encourage and build up the body of Christ. We are also to set an example of love for unbelievers to see.

The holidays seem to amplify the state of relationships; unfortunately, that includes making bad ones worse and often causing good ones to struggle. So much strain comes from already struggling finances, unmet expectations and inevitable disappointments.

As with physical and spiritual health, relationships can survive and even thrive during the holidays if deliberately considered rather than reacted to and given band-aid fixes.

Healthy Relationships

Consider the following advice as you work toward healthy relationships through the holidays and beyond.

  1. Be committed to caring. A focus on building bridges and not walls in our relationships, especially during the holidays, leads us to show concern for others and to focus on what blesses them.
  2. Cultivate respect. In the spirit of 1 Corinthians, the onus lies with the more mature spiritually and involves choosing relationships over ego.
  3. Develop & live out family convictions. State convictions and then allowed them to shape traditions.
  4. Be flexible. Flexibility is required to maintain relationships as life changes. Purpose to adapt, and refuse to hold tight to tradition for fear of change.
  5. Don’t let assumptions kill relationships. Make a point to respectfully express feelings, and don’t take for granted that others know how you feel. Say it both verbally and physically (hugs and smiles).
  6. Share responsibilities. Ask what you can do to help but also ask for help too.
  7. Engage people and be fully where you are. Put down the technology and make eye contact. Make sure your loved ones know you don’t prefer your electronics over them.
  8. Don’t allow expectations to kill relationship. Be realistic and have fair expectations of others. Don’t set them up for failure.

Depression and family contention hit their height for many during the holidays. Most likely, these two realities are closely related to the loneliness and disconnect so many feel this time of year.

Fortunately, a deliberate choice by individual Christians can make a huge impact for health and wholeness, healing and mending. As Proverbs 3:5-6 says, rely on the Lord to guide you toward healthy relationships during the holidays and beyond.

Relationships 2

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14 Replies to “Healthy Relationships During the Holidays and Beyond”

  1. Man #7 frustrastes me. I try to be pretty good about not constantly being on my phone, but it's quite offensive when many people are "spending time with me" and then looking at their phones 80% of the time.
    My advice for relationships? Wow, that's hard to think about.
    I think #8 would have to echo my sentiments and advice. It's easy for me to see the holiday time as just a big to-do list and I hurry through to check things off, rather than remembering to give attention to the people. Prioritizing people is something I need to work on.
    My recent post “Your Procrastination Solution” Questions – Episode 23

  2. Sorry I'm late to this party Kari. I decided to take your advice on #7. I chose to spend a very limited time on the computer and phone and be "all there." I'm glad I did. Strangely enough the world kept spinning. 🙂 hope you and your family had a fantastic Christmas.
    My recent post Births

  3. I have had such stressful Christmases dealing with difficult people the last several years that I decided to be proactive and go on vacation with the family instead! We did the obligatory family gatherings before we left, but somehow knowing that trip was coming made the stressors like water on a duck's back. 🙂

    1. We've done this ourselves, Melanie, so I understand how helpful it can be for having a less-stressful holiday. It allows you to focus in on your immediate family too, which can be very positive and strengthen those relationships tremendously. Good for you for being proactive!

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