1. How to Be an Uncommen Husband during the Holidays

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    decupdates Chestnuts roasting on an open fire Jack Frost nipping at your nose Yuletide carols being sung by a choir Old time Christmas songs fill the air, the decorations, the food, the gifts, the excitement of children opening up presents, the smell of Christmas cookies from the kitchen, decorating the tree, throwing one more log on that open fire; it's that time of year again. The Christmas season is upon us. The Holidays can indeed be the most wonderful time of the year, reconnecting with family, and the overall festive spirit in the air. But for many of us, navigating the holidays can be quite challenging. Make the wrong move and the experience of the holidays can change from a happy time to a time that can be quite the opposite. For many women, our wives included, Christmas can often be one of the most stressful periods of the year. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that women typically feel a lot more stressed than men and have a harder time relaxing and being able to enjoy the holiday season. While it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, often that’s not the case. Here at UNCOMMEN we want to help you be prepared to help your wife through the Christmas season this year. Here are four ways you can be an UNCOMMEN husband during the holidays.

    Family Matters

    Perhaps when your family gathers it is a picturesque scene of perfect harmony where everything goes exactly to plan, and you're all wearing matching sweaters while singing Christmas Carols and building snowmen together. But maybe your holiday gathering looks more like an episode of The Griswold’s in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Many family members packed into a small space with varying expectations, and all of sudden “Cousin Eddie” shows up unexpectedly. For many households, it’s both a joyous time to gather and but also a time where things can get volatile. This relational tension can be especially hard on wives. Maybe her mom or your mom is criticizing all the things she’s doing wrong (in a passive aggressive way for an added twist.) Here’s what you can do: Watch your wife’s body language, facial reactions, and tone during each of these situations so you can better know how to help her. Help her focus on positive Christmas memories rather than the current stressful time of holiday preparations. Use humor to lighten things up and keep it in perspective.

    Roll Your Sleeves Up

    During the holidays in our house, my wife’s to-do list gets a whole lot longer, and she has a tendency to want to “do it all.” Time to roll your sleeves up and jump in. Do more than is typically expected of you. Be ready to help with meals, clean the bathrooms, vacuum, fold that laundry. Think of all the jobs your wife normally does and do several of them without her asking, to free up time for her to focus on additional Christmas to-do lists, especially the blessing (challenge) of hosting Christmas at your own home. I guarantee your wife will notice and very much appreciate you rolling up your sleeves more than usual.

    A Christmas Date

    Break away from all the holiday hustle and bustle for a date. Just the two of you. Growing up, my parents always had this tradition of going out for a “fancier” than traditional Christmas lunch without my sister and I. They would often do it right before the busiest parts of the holiday season and schedule it before they would schedule all the other holiday plans. Now that I have a family of my own, I see how busy the holidays can get. Setting aside a time for just you and your wife for a few hours can be the connection you need. It can be the difference to stay on the same page leading into, during, and after the excitement and stress of the holidays dies down. So get that Christmas Date on the calendar with your wife.

    Navigating Loss

    The holidays are an emotional time, and not all the emotions are positives. The holidays can be a season for you or your wife where you think of the loss of family members and memories that have passed. More and more you hear about “the holiday blues” amidst middle-aged families trying to process all the busyness but also heartache and loss. Depression and sadness are more common than many people realize. Be UNCOMMEN and be there for your wife without trying to “fix” everything. Just being there with her is more important than knowing what to say. Sometimes a well-timed hug is worth more than anything you will say to help your wife navigate a loss during the holiday season. This holiday season, we challenge you as a husband to be UNCOMMEN. We look forward to hearing ways that you can step up and help your wives to make it the best holiday season yet. About the Author: Sam Casey is the Managing Partner at Banyan Creative based in Matthews, NC. He is looking forward to Christmas this year, and planning to break the record in Christmas cookies consumed in a one week period before committing to a New Year’s Resolution to never do that again.
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  2. Eternity is Written on Our Hearts

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    This is our last week with Shane Falco and Jimmy McGinty.  We watched as Shane changed.  He was a boat washer who wanted to be forgotten, a man who had lost his heart.  Now he is a leader and a quarterback who wanted the ball in his hands with the game on the line.  This sort of transition is one I hope we all go through.

    As Falco is leading his team down the field in the second half of the final game, he looks in the huddle.  His teammates are exhausted and hurting from the physicality of the match.  He tells them, “I wish I could say something classy and inspirational, but that just wouldn’t be our style.  Pain heals.  Chicks dig scars.  Glory…lasts forever.” 

    I find this theme recurring in movies and real life.  Early on in the film Gladiator, General Maximus spoke to his troops before a battle.  As they stood in formation ready to unleash hell, he reminded them, “Brothers, what we do in life echoes in eternity.”  Each soldier would make a difference in the outcome of the battle. 

    Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, once said, “We’re here to put a dent in the universe.  Otherwise why else even be here?”  He wanted to make a difference and change the world he lived in.  It was the driving purpose in everything he did. 

    This concept goes as far back as the Bible.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that God “has set eternity in the human heart.”  No matter what pain, adversity or hopeless odds we face, our hearts are drawn to things that will last.  It is in our DNA.

    We recognize the reality of this theme by the way our hearts resonate and respond to this call.  We also find ourselves struggling with the execution of this desire.  How do we make a dent in the universe?  It’s great for Steve Jobs to say, he ran Apple.  All I do is run my kids to school and practice.  I’m no quarterback or leader of hundreds of men.  What difference can I have that will last forever?

    One way I have tried to align my life with eternity is to look at those things that only I can do.  I mean, I do a lot of things and have many roles.  Father, husband, brother, son, friend.  Teacher, instructor, nurse, writer, speaker.  I can easily fill my time with activities so that I am always busy.  Lead a small group?  Sure.  Attend this meeting?  No problem.  Before I know it, my time is booked with activities, but I lose track of the meaning.  Every time I say yes to something, I am saying no to something else.

    It’s important to go back to the question: What am I doing that only I can do?  I am the only man who can husband my wife.  I am the only one who can father my children.  I have been given gifts and abilities to succeed in my calling.  Those areas should be a priority and take precedence over anything else.  What does that look like?  That means I have a choice to make and I ensure that the most important roles take priority and guide my decisions.

    As men, we get trapped thinking we always have to do something or appear a certain way.  “I have to go here and do this because it’s expected.”  Just because we are expected to do something doesn’t mean it matters in eternity. 

    Investigate your life.  Identify those things that ONLY you can do.  What is your critical mission, your top priorities?  Are you giving enough time and energy to those areas?  It will be hard.  We feel important and involved, and we wonder where we stand or what people will think if we say no. 

    Remember what matters.  You have a role that can only be filled by you.  You have a calling that only you can do.  Eternity resides in your heart.  Follow it.

    About the Author

    Paul McDonald is a writer who shares the story of God’s victory in his life at The Original PMcD.  He lives in Charlotte with his wife, who have four children between them.  He loves corny comedies and knows way too many movie quotes.

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