I’ve been experiencing the usual busy-ness of December. The first few weeks are crunch time at work, and then I run into all the things I need to do to prepare for Christmas celebrations.
Now that my kids are grown and don’t all live with us, we no longer are juggling Christmas pageants, gifts for teachers, and managing the anticipation of Christmas morning. Instead, we deal with making space in our down-sized home for the kids who live on their own and driving to a bus station to pick up a kid who lives too far away.
In years past, the days leading to Christmas were filled with opportunities for me to wallow in my self-imposed martyrdom: Look at how much I’m doing. If I weren’t doing all of this, Christmas would be ruined. No one is helping me, and no one is fully appreciating all the sacrifices I am making. Why won’t Big Guy help me? Why does it all land on me?
I saw so many things as an example of how Big Guy didn’t love me enough. I viewed his efforts to sexually connect as a sign that he had absolutely no concern for the many things I was doing. I’d been trying so hard to manage how everything happened for Christmas, and his sexual efforts threw my plans all out of whack. I had too much going on in my head to relax and enjoy sex.
Sex hardly ever happened—and if it did, I resented it. I had too much to do to make time for sex.
Our traditions have changed over the years. Our travel obligations have changed. My responsibilities have changed.
Fortunately, something else has changed as well: me.
I now allow myself to not fret quite so much about doing everything perfectly for Christmas. Good enough is good enough. I do less, I allow myself to take shortcuts, and I stop trying to control everything.
Now I understand that when I am so focused on making everything just right, I’m not focused on my marriage. Or on my husband. Or on God, if I’m honest. My husband’s efforts to connect with me were because he missed me and needed that connection.
Here’s what I now understand about sex during the busy-ness of Christmas:
It is good for us and for our marriages.
Although it may be harder to find time to sexually connect, time that is just for you and your husband to be naked together and focus on each other will be good for you. It will slow you down and get you out of the stuff in your head for a while.
Your husband’s arms can be a sanctuary away from the rest of life. Let your husband love you, and allow yourself to receive his love.
Even when you don’t feel like having sex or when a lengthy encounter isn’t feasible, sexual intimacy of any kind is an amazing gift from God. Let yourself simply sink into that gift for a while.
Helping our husbands feel loved makes Christmas better for them, too. I cringe to think about all the years my husband was opening gifts, when what he really wanted was to feel loved by his wife. My focus on all the other things of the season meant that my husband went without a good, loving Christmas for years.
Sometimes we focus so much on making Christmas perfect that we don’t leave any space for any of the goodness of the season—including the goodness of the Christ whose birth we celebrate. I’ve often heard women say that they were so busy with Christmas that they didn’t get around to be the real meaning of Christmas.
We can’t always reduce the busyness of this time—but we can choose how to respond to it. Control less. Go with the flow. Cook one less dish. Allow yourself to do an imperfect job.
If you’ve been rushing, slow down. Enjoy your husband. Allow yourself to receive his love, and help him experience your love, too.
If you have a Christmas tradition of high stress and low intimacy in your marriage, it’s time to make a change. Start now. Make a tradition of enjoying the blessings of sexual intimacy now and throughout the year.
Merry Christmas to you all!