Surviving Your Family This Thanksgiving

I’m really excited about Thanksgiving this year. Our family leaves tomorrow to go visit both sides of our family. It will be a lot of driving; a lot of eating and a lot of family. Holidays used to be really hard on our marriage. Some of our biggest arguments would come on our way to or on our way home from Thanksgiving or Christmas with family.

Unmet expectations. Unspoken expectations. Little patience. Harsh tones of voices. Short fuses. Those are some phrases that described us as we spent holidays with extended family.

When our marriage imploded and we began to address some of our own dysfunction we came up with a few things that have helped us not just survive time with extended family, but truly enjoy it.

Here are 3 things that may help you as you spend time with family.

1. Give up your need to fix your family. 

I think all of us have this unspoken belief that we are the only normal ones in our family. Everyone else in our family is broken and we can fix them. We can fix how they parent their kids. We can fix how they spend their money. We can fix their marriage problems. We can fix their singleness and dating problems. We can fix them.

The truth is you can’t and it isn’t your job to fix your family. It’s your job to love your family. Everyone will have a better Thanksgiving if we love our family and not try to fix them.

2. Give your spouse grace as they spend time with their respective families. 

Both Trish and I had such high expectations of one another as we’d visit family. We expected each other to react perfectly; to parent perfectly; to always say the right thing; to have it all together all the time. The reality is that the family we both go home to now is different than the family that we grew up with. So giving each other grace to navigate some of those differences communicates that we are a team and not enemies. Thanksgiving will be so much better laced with grace.

3. Cherish the time you get to spend with family. 

We have 3 Thanksgivings and Christmases together before our oldest son graduates. That sucks. I allowed too many holidays to go by without savoring the time. I want to take in every moment.

I’m looking forward to seeing my wife’s family this year. I’m looking forward to spending time with my family. We aren’t guaranteed time; it is on loan to us. I want to cherish the time I spend with family. When I treat the time we spend with my wife’s family as valuable, it shows that I value her.

These are 3 things that won’t give you a perfect Thanksgiving, but I’m pretty sure they’ll change you as you experience Thanksgiving. They’ve change us over the past few years.

We are so thankful for you and hope you have a great week.

How do you survive family dynamics during the holidays? 

One Response to Surviving Your Family This Thanksgiving

  1. Andrea

    This is a great post! Living abroad and very very very far away from family I am jealous of those who get to spend holiday’s with their families but… we haven’t always lived overseas. 🙂 One thing that has helped us in the past is the my husband takes the lead when we’re with his family and I take the lead when we’re with mine. Also the leaving time is agreed upon before arriving.