In theory, the holiday season is all about connection. We take time off from school and work to connect with extended family and friends. Families play together, cook together, and give gifts to communicate their love. We decorate with lights and evergreens and stockings and wreaths. Most importantly, we turn our hearts to Christ, and praise God for the miracle of His birth.
All of this allegedly is centered on connection, and it can be the best time of year to connect with distant family. However, in all the holiday hubbub a lot of couples find that they feel separated from their spouse. There is a lot of stress associated with the holidays. Some couples feel the strain on their finances. Parents put a lot of work into making this time of year special for their children. Visiting/ staying with in-laws can take a toll on a relationship. This is all in addition to the stressors of scheduling, planning, cleaning, and facing a new year.
Once we consider all of these stressors, it’s no wonder our marriages can seem tense or distant during the holidays. However, if we can put in just a little more effort to connect to our spouse this holiday season, we can grow even closer together. I can’t think of a better Christmas gift to give your spouse than deeper intimacy in your marriage!
Here are 50 ideas of ways to connect with your spouse during the holiday season. Some of these ideas came from our awesome Instagram followers!
Most families have holiday traditions. Make sure as you create your own traditions to include ways to connect with your spouse. Here are a few ideas!
- Hang mistletoe: mistletoe can be a fun and easy reminder to give your spouse a little love and attention throughout each day. Find excuses to get them under the mistletoe and connect!
- Taking a day trip to a local holiday venue: You can create a traditional couple’s day trip to a Christmas village, trail of lights, bakery, or whatever fun places are around you. This tradition will ensure you get time for your relationship every December.
- Make a list of things about your spouse you’re thankful for and tell them one each day. (Set a reminder on your phone!)
- Cook new or traditional foods and desserts together. Share the load and create new memories together!
- Sexy advent calendar: Plan an intimacy challenge for every day leading up to Christmas! You can leave this as a surprise for your spouse or create a calendar for them to open each day.
- Do a “tradition inventory”. Talk to each other about what traditions you each had growing up and what meant the most to each of you. Incorporate the most meaningful traditions from your childhoods and make a list together of what traditions you want to start in your own family. Also talk about current traditions you follow and if they are still working for your marriage and family. It’s ok to let go of traditions that don’t serve you anymore–they are meant to create love and connection, not stress and anxiety.
The holidays often involve a lot of traveling. Turn those road trips and airport visits into time to connect with your spouse.
- Write out a shared travel itinerary. This is a great way to make sure you are both on the same page about all the details and to ensure you both get a say in what you do.
- As one follower on Instagram said, “Have sex in the in-law’s house (only fun part of being there)”. Staying with family can sometimes feel grating. However, it is a good opportunity to have a new experience. It can feel a little rebellious and fun to have sex in your parents (or in-laws) house 😉
- Pack a discreet bag with lube, towels, wipes, etc. Give a little forethought into how you will remain intimate even when out of your house.
- Send sexy text while you’re waiting at the airport (you can use the Just Between Us app) or while on your road trip.
- Get family members to watch your kids for date nights when you’re visiting.
- Ask each other questions from the Discover section of the Intimately Us app as you’re traveling!
- Sneak away and find a random place to have sex. One of our followers recommended, “off the road in the mountains.”
- Write it on your hand, on your phone, or somewhere where you will see it: Assume the best. Assume the best about your spouse and their good intentions. Traveling can be stressful for anyone with the loss of routines and the potential for things to go awry. It can be tempting to take out our frustrations on our spouse or be mad if they’re not always on their game. Assume that they are just doing the best that they can!
Even if you aren’t leaving town, there are often still family gatherings during the holidays. Here are a few ideas to help you connect with your spouse if these family gatherings are hard for your relationship.
- Sit next to your spouse as much as possible.
- Publicly compliment and praise your spouse.
- Have a code language. You can use code phrases to indicate you want to leave or you are uncomfortable. But better yet, find secret ways to tell each other spicy things (like, “when I say ‘wow it sure is cold’ know I really mean ‘you look really hot in that dress!’”).
- Compliment your spouse’s family (to the family member and to your spouse). It can be hard combining two families into one couple, and it can often feel like you against your in-laws. Find some things about your spouse’s family that you admire and let them know! Building connections with your spouse’s family will build connections with your spouse.
- Go to bed together as much as possible. It’s tempting to stay up late when you’re with your family (and your spouse is with their in-laws), but show them that they are a priority by going to bed with them.
- Touch your partner as much as you can- put your hand on their leg or neck or arm. Hold hands and give kisses and hugs when you can.
- Pass cute, loving, or sexy notes to each other without anyone else noticing.
- Find ways to incorporate the foods you know your spouse loves into the family holiday meals.
For Couples with Kids
Couples with kids have a few additional reasons to stress over the holidays. In fact, Christmas often becomes about the kids. Parents can lose themselves and their relationship in doing things for their children. Here are a few tips that can help you remember that the holidays are also for you and your spouse.
- Get babysitters early. The holidays get busy for everyone. Try booking a babysitter early for any parties or Christmas outings you want to be just about the two of you.
- If you are having a hard time picturing a way for you two to get away, plan some at home date nights (here are some ideas!)
- Keep bedtime routines. As fun as the holidays are, keeping a regular bedtime routine (as much as possible in your circumstance) will not only leave you more time with your spouse but help your kids be happier and be able to enjoy their holiday more.
- Set boundaries with family and kids’ activities. Everyone wants to be a part of things during the holidays, and extended family members want to connect with your kids. That being said, it can be very beneficial to your relationship to decide on boundaries together beforehand. Take equal responsibility for holding those boundaries.
- Compliment your spouse in front of your kids. Show your kids how much you love your spouse, and show your spouse that they are your priority.
- Play a new board game or do something you both enjoy after the kids go to bed.
Christmas usually involves gifts! Use your gift giving opportunity to connect you and your spouse in these or other ways.
- Private gift exchange: One of our fantastic followers recommended having a private gift exchange with your spouse. This can make the experience more meaningful, and provides you a space to give sexier gifts in private.
- Sexy stocking: Along those same lines, you can make a sexy stocking for your spouse! Include things like lube, vibrators, scented candles, and/or lingerie.
- Christmas cards from the dollar store each day: This is a cute and cheap idea to let your spouse know you are thinking about them everyday, even with all the craziness going on!
- Open lingerie and other erotic gifts early so you can enjoy them on your time off!
- Give gifts that are an experience for you to share. This could be anything from skydiving (this is actually how I proposed to my husband!) to a cooking class to a premium subscription to the Intimately Us app to a new restaurant for you to try out together.
- Make a photobook or video to gift your spouse–videos and pictures, favorite memories, things you love about them.
Don’t underestimate the effect of the simple moments together. A little bit of effort can change mundane “to-do’s” into sweet moments together. These little moments are the biggest thing that can connect us to our spouse.
- Schedule date nights and sex together. Some people think scheduling is unromantic, but setting time aside to intentionally be together is often the only way to keep your intimacy on a low simmer all the time.
- Check out our Christmas game (and others) in the Intimately Us app.
- Ask for help and divide the tasks when needed. There is a lot to do this time of year; intimacy means equally sharing the load and being able to rely on each other for help.
- In the same vein, go holiday shopping together! (And hold hands while you’re doing it.)
- Create and stick to a budget. The financial load of the holidays is a number one stressor for a lot of couples. Avoid this pitfall by deciding together how much money you can afford to spend this year.
- Set aside time before it gets busy to talk about any anxieties or worries about what’s coming up in the traveling, family dynamics, finances, etc. Addressing those things preemptively sets you up for more success than dealing with them in the heat of the moment.
- Make a special effort to pray together. Spiritual intimacy is an important component of a relationship.
- Find ways to serve together. Food banks, soup kitchen, shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor, etc. There are so many ways to serve in your community.
- Give a long hug to your spouse every day.
- Sneak in an exercise session together. Get your blood pumpin’ and load up on endorphins!
- Work together on some of the chores. Turn on some Christmas music, dance around together, and try to make it fun!
- Give each other massages to release stress and tension
- Listen to podcasts, have snacks or watch movies together while wrapping gifts. Do something you both love to make the process more fun!
- Everytime you leave each other or meet up again, give your spouse a kiss.
- Say “I love you” every day.
- Be on the lookout for things that your spouse does each day and tell them thank you. Whether it’s hanging lights, watering the Christmas tree, cleaning a bathroom, cooking a meal, driving kids around, pay attention and acknowledge the effort.
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