It’s that time of year again – sleigh bells are ringing, everyone is decking the halls, and shopping is in full force. Every family is different in how they celebrate the holidays. My family always takes a trip to a tree farm to choose and cut our own Christmas tree. But how do you handle it if you and your loved one come from different religious backgrounds with different traditions, expectations, and festivities?
Likely, these differences are not news to you. Sometime in the dating process, you probably had discussions about your spiritual practices and foundational beliefs. During that time of sharing, you both decided to continue with the relationship despite any differences in your beliefs. Remember, you chose each other. You love each other and respect each other! So, let that mindset guide you as you choose how to celebrate this holiday season. If ever there is a time when love and peace should reign in your hearts, this season is it.
So, approach your differences from this perspective: “How can we make this season meaningful to us as a couple?” Instead of one person being “right” and the other being “wrong”, choose celebrations and traditions that you can both share together. Maybe this means lighting the Menorah and attending midnight Mass. Maybe it looks like attending a Christmas Eve service, or reading the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke. Whatever you choose, make it your practice to be a student of your spouse, and learn what they value and why it is important for them. The goal in marriage is “oneness”, not “sameness”. You don’t have to be cookie cutters of each other, but whatever you choose should unite you and bring you closer rather than separating you. Remember the love that brought you together, and rest in that.