I have to admit, I have never decorated the outside of our house or our the yard for Christmas. I’m not against it, and I don’t have anything against those that do.
It’s just seems like a lot of work for something you’re going to have to take down in 30 days. Yes – we decorate the inside of the house, and no – I don’t know what the difference is. I could tell you that growing up we never decorated outside, but that sounds like I’m blaming my parents for my laziness and I’m sure there’s probably something wrong with that.
Even though I don’t decorate the outside of my house, I like driving through the neighborhood and seeing other houses decorated for Christmas. Maybe I’m a hypocrite, or maybe I want someone else to make up for my laziness. Both are probably true, but that’s not the purpose of this post. (He says as he realizes he’s just painted himself in a corner.)
Where was I? Oh yeah. Christmas yard decorations.
The other day, I walked by a house that obviously took Christmas yard decorations seriously. They were not contenders for the Clarke Grizwald, see-it-from-space and burn-your-retinas award, but they could get honorable mention.
Their large front yard was filled with a menagerie of brightly colored moving inflatables. There was Santa in a helicopter, Santa in a train, Santa in a bus, Santa in a plane, and Santa in a boat. There were Nutckrackers, Ginger bread men, snowmen, and assorted other men. (Suddenly, Christmas sounds very sexist…unless you’re Rosemary Cloony having Christmas in a Vermont Inn. And if that last reference threw you, I can’t believe you haven’t seen the classic Christmas movie “White Christmas!”)
Anyway, back to the yard decorations…
So this yard had so many spinning, moving inflatables and yard decorations it was an ADHD dream. I was going to just keep walking, but then I noticed it. Off in a secluded corner of the yard, almost apologetically, stood a small plastic nativity. It’s colors were faded in comparison to all the other brightly colored figures in the yard. It didn’t move, whir, or spin. It just sat there rather dejectedly, unable to compete with everything else.
And then it hit me as hard as a dodge ball in high school gym class. How easy it is to focus on the brightly colored, frenetically animated chaos around us and lose sight of what’s really important. How easy it is to put a million smaller things front-and-center in our lives and push the important things off to the side.
If you are a person of faith, then you get the message loud and clear and there’s no need for Captain Obvious to go any further. But there’s something to be said here about marriage that may not be as obvious.
Like a yard full of brightly colored, moving inflatables that scream “Look at me!” your marriage can be full of things that constantly scream for your attention. Careers, kids, homes, hobbies, activities, bills, up-keep, and other things can take up the prime real-estate of your marriage leaving little space for the more important things. In other words, it’s easy to let the “nativity” of your marriage become dwarfed by the more demanding and chaotic decorations of marriage.
What can you do to correct this? Try these two steps:
- Put the “nativity” back in the center of your marriage. Remember, you didn’t marry a job, or a house, or bills, or hobbies, or even kids. In the “nativity” of your marriage, you stood front and center in a ceremony and promised to put each other first in every aspect of life. Go back to that wedding day and put those vows and that person front and center again. If you need help doing that, get out your wedding album and remember how you started. Go ahead. I dare you!
- Clear out some of the clutter in your marriage. As you go through marriage, you naturally accumulate some clutter. You accumulate habits, expectations, perspectives, activities, kids, commitments, pursuits, and a load of material stuff. It’s not all bad, and some of it you need to hang onto…especially the kids. But so much of this stuff is self-induced clutter that you’ve merely grown accustom to or dependent upon. It’s clutter that takes away from your marriage more than adds to your marriage. Take some time to thin out some of the things that take so much of your time and attention.
I don’t mean to sound like too much like Samuel L Jackson here, but…how do you decorate your marriage? Does your marriage focus on the important things, or does it look like you’ve just been adding random things to the yard until there’s little to no room left? If you marriage is starting to have that Grizwald feel, maybe it’s time to redecorate.
Let me know what you think about this…good and bad.
Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg