Monday, December 10, 2012

Holidays, Young Couples and the Families Who Love Them

An unanticipated negotiation for young couples sometimes comes in the early years of marriage - which family to spend the holidays with - his, hers or try to do both? It does not occur to couples in the blissful stages of the wedding and planing for marriage that their holidays will never be the same.  The couple has to pick one or the other family to spend each holiday with which means one or the other spouse will not be with their family.

 Along with the richness and beauty of becoming a couple,there are inevitable losses.  Not being with your family on the holiday 100% of the time on your timetable is one of those losses. I imagine it is a loss as well for the families of the young couples who now have to share their children with their child's spouse's family. There is a certain latent hostility inherent in in-law relationships which surfaces in  all the tacky in-law jokes that you hear.  Sharing is hard, especially sharing your adult kids and your treasured family traditions.

How do we gracefully untangle from this complex family tangle?

Letting go is probably a good start. Do not cling too tightly to the past and make space for your family traditions to morph into something new.  I know this is easier said then done.  You are a family in transition now - integrating the comforting traditions of the past with the new life that is weaving into the present.

Let yourself grieve and mourn as you let go of your childhood holiday traditions.  Judith Viorst has a classic book called Necessary Losses.  This is one of them.  Grieve the loss of the old so you can welcome the new.  It will save a lot of conflict and wear and tear.  For those of you who embrace Christmas - along with the birth of the Christ child, embrace the holiday season that your family is birthing anew.

1 comment:

  1. So true! Each time one of our children got married, we re-designed parts of our celebrations. Very important to give them space to create their own traditions while still maintaining some of your own.