The moment you say, “I do,” you and your partner begin the adventure of intentionally getting to know each other at deeper levels. The mystery of who you are as a couple, and who you will grow to be, is like a gift you get to unwrap together!
One thing that you’ll learn about your partner is the traditions they had in their family of origin when it comes to the holidays.
You may be wondering… What is a Family of Origin?
A family of origin is the family you grew up with — the home that helped form you into the person you are today. We all have a family of origin, and they all look different.
As the saying goes, we are a product of our environment. There are a lot of nuances to how our families of origin shaped us, but let’s focus on one area: holiday traditions.
Each family celebrates the holidays differently.
Just talk about it!
As you continue getting to know your spouse, it is important to know his/her family of origin’s traditions when it comes to the holidays. The best way to do this? Simply ask!
We suggest that you ask your spouse the following questions:
- How did your family of origin celebrate Thanksgiving?
- How did your family of origin celebrate Christmas?
- How did your family of origin celebrate New Year?
- What other family traditions are celebrated during this holiday season?
Take some time to consider each family’s religious traditions, cultural expressions, and even the “house rules” or unique twists a family puts into their celebrations. Even simple things like food items and who gets to open presents first are important elements of celebrating holidays.
The end of the year can be a challenge for many couples, and we often have our own expectations about how the holidays should be celebrated. Taking the time to talk with your partner about what your holiday traditions are and what they mean to you will be an important step toward blending your lives and traditions together.
Something Old, Something New
Once you’ve both shared the importance of your holiday traditions, it’s time to discuss how your new family would like to celebrate. As you look at the ways your two families of origin expressed their faith, traditions, and customs, begin to talk about how you want the holidays to look in your family.
Consider taking elements from each of your families of origin along with adding new elements that express who you are as a couple and what you value. You might be surprised that your traditions go hand-in-hand and there is little you’d like to change, or you might find that you’d like to establish entirely new ways of celebrating the holidays.
As a new family, it’s truly up to you to decide. As long as you communicate openly, and you agree to honor each other in the process, the decisions belong to you as a couple. We encourage you to honor your parents and extended family, but ultimately, your new family traditions need to make sense for you, and you alone.
Our challenge for you and your spouse:
Create your own traditions together! These new traditions can be a mix of what you and your spouse experienced in your own families of origin, plus a dash (or several dashes) of what makes your relationship unique.
Remember — This is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and they become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24
This is part of the beauty of marriage!
We hope that you find this article to be helpful as we enter the holiday season.
From all of us at The Marriage Group, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!