Remember when you got married, and nothing else seemed to matter? You and your spouse gazed into each other’s eyes and saw nothing but the best life has to offer. Your future seemed bright. Then, life after the actual marriage ceremony hit you like a ton of bricks. As a new husband, you are starting to realize that providing for two is a little more difficult than what you expected. As a new wife, cooking was not as fun as you thought it was going to be. However, you still are in love, and life is good.
As you continue to go throughout your newlywed bliss you both begin to realize the difference in your backgrounds. His family loved to travel for the holidays, and your family loved to stay home. His family loved going to holiday parties, and your family preferred to keep things low key and have family over for games and traditional treats. His family loved trying to outdo each other with great presents and her family set a budget of $10 per gift and encouraged homemade gifts. It is time to have the discussion; you know the one about what traditions you will be importing into the marriage.
Even after over 16 years of marriage, I am still learning about traditions that my wife has in their family and I love it. What a blessing it is to be able to bring our traditions together and then create our own. It wasn’t always the easiest topic to talk about, but we have figured things out. Here are 4 ways that can help you combine traditions in your marriage or family.
Ask about them
One of the best things you can do is be proactive and ask about your spouse’s traditions. Listen with love and a desire to learn. As you listen ask questions and open up dialogue. This will diffuse what can be a fiery topic. Learn about the purpose of the tradition, the history of it and encourage your spouse to share a personal experience. Your interest shows your love, that you care, understanding and support, all of which help ensure a strong marriage foundation.
Try them out
Now that you have heard some of the traditions of your spouse, try them out. Make a commitment to see what they feel like. You will often find out that you want to maintain that tradition in your own marriage, or you may be able to change a little to make it your own. Simply trying creates trust and a deeper appreciation for each other.
Be willing to compromise
You knew that marriage is all about joining two different people and there would be adjustments. You knew that there would be a need for compromise, and this includes traditions. The reality is you want to pass on traditions to your posterity, so compromising ensures there is a good mix. It allows you both to honor one another. Respect in marriage is one of the keys to a successful marriage.
No matter how wonderful the traditions you or your spouse bring to the marriage, it is crucial that you create your own. There is something special about creating your own traditions. Your love for one another will reach new levels, and you will generate new excitement in your marriage.
Traditions are truly one of the greatest and most important aspects within a marriage. For many of us, these traditions helped shape whom we have become.
One of my family traditions falls around Christmas time. We would select a family who has a newborn baby, and we treated that family and baby as the Baby Jesus. As a family, we would purchase items for the baby then we would schedule a time to take the gifts to the family and read Luke 2 with them which talks about the birth of Christ and the gifts of the wise men. As we share this, we shared our gifts with them. It was always a touching experience and really brought our family together. When I shared this tradition with my wife, she did not hesitate to have us take this as one of our traditions. One of the reasons this is so special to me is that when I was born, our family was chosen by another family as the baby Jesus family for their tradition.
As you learn about each other’s traditions as well as create your own, remember how much you love each other, be thankful for what your spouse means to you and always find ways to show gratitude. You never know, you may start a new tradition as you get creative in your expressions of love.
Seth Saunders is an executive business consultant and leadership coach. Seth has been married 20 years to his amazing wife, Amber, and is the proud father of three wonderful sons. He is passionate about helping others succeed.