There is nothing like the exhilaration and butterflies that go along with a new dating relationship. It’s a time of joyful anticipation and mild apprehension all piled up in the pit of your stomach in the hope that this is the “one.” Add in all the expectations and stress of the holidays and you have a thrilling (and terrifying) season to look forward to! But holiday dating has a silver lining; it’s a great opportunity to get to know the person you are dating in a new and deeper way, so use the holidays to lean in and experience all the relationship has to offer.

Watch And Assess

How often do we get wrapped up in the idea of the person before we even get to know them? Fortunately, dating during the holidays is a great opportunity to gather crucial information about someone because there is approximately a zero percent chance you can hide and isolate at Christmas; you will simply be forced to mix and mingle in both family and work environments. However, this allows you to get a broader perspective of your date’s personality and background.

Watch and assess how your date operates in social situations. Are they the last one at the party or the first to leave? Find out if the person is a homebody or likes to go out. This information is crucial in a marriage. My husband Tim and I are both extroverts. We close down every party – together. And it works! There are many personalities that complement each other in their differences, but extreme opposites in this area cause a great deal of conflict. When one person wants to stay at home and watch TV all weekend and the other wants to go out, someone is always disappointed.

Dive Into The Crazy

There is so much to do during the Christmas season, so use this special time to create opportunities to connect and build your relationship. Bring your new honey to your office Christmas party and see how they fit in. Do they complement you and vice versa?

Spend an evening at the mall for pictures with Santa and watch how he or she treats the elves and waits in line. Go Christmas caroling, bake sugar cookies together and put up a tree together. Make room for church and volunteering together. Are you having fun or struggling to accomplish these tasks together? Find a tree lighting ceremony and sing “Silent Night” mitten to mitten. Is your heart going pitter-patter? Drink cocoa and watch your favorite holiday classics snuggled up on the sofa. Turn up the radio and learn each other’s favorite Christmas songs.

Make sure you take the time to reflect and pray regarding each outing and determine if this is a person worth pursuing long term. Do they have the qualities you are looking for in a partner?

Meet The Family

Christmas is a great time to introduce your new relationship to the family. If you have extra time and are close enough geographically, ease your new boyfriend/girlfriend into a short meeting with your family before the big Christmas day celebration with the extended family complete with crazy Uncle Eddie’s rants. If there is family drama, prepare your new sweetheart and help them to succeed in a chaotic climate. Try to find safe topics in advance, and do your best to make them feel comfortable.

Again, watch how they interact with your family. Are they kind, welcoming and respectful? Does your family get along with them? Is it natural or forced?

Just Be You

As you are in the process of assessing your new relationship, you too will be assessed in strange and new situations as you meet your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s colleagues, friends and family. Try your best to relax and be yourself in all situations, remembering that you are simply looking for the best fit in a relationship, not perfection.

Go easy on yourself and your new sweetheart. Don’t over-do alcohol and always use respect and discretion when talking to their employers and parents. While the goal is never to impress anyone, you also want to present the best side of you and compliment your sweetheart. My husband always prayed he would find someone whom he could “be better together with than apart.” Seek to mutually promote and support one another throughout these holiday events.

Have Fun

My husband and I started dating in January and were newly engaged when Christmas rolled around the next year. It was a jubilant time of elation and bliss coupled with crazy family stress. My fiancée experienced his first Christmas with my two small children and we merged all our families (my two divorced and remarried parents with his parents) for one big get-together. Holy moly, what were we thinking?

There were tears and melt-downs, heartwarming connections and the best Christmas Eve of my life; we spent that night putting together toys until dawn as we giggled and fell asleep in the wrapping paper overwhelmed with joy. I learned a great deal about him that holiday season, as did he, and we compiled a bevy of precious memories to build a strong relational foundation on.

Make sure to enjoy this time of building a new love and relationship along with the gift of Christ this Christmas.

You may also be interested in Dating Discernment: How To Figure Out Who’s Best For You

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