As the season of Christmas draws near the story of the Nativity is told and retold in churches, on television, and in homes throughout the world. People of all faiths pretty much know the story.

The story is simple enough-a husband and wife travel to a distant town to be counted in a tax census. The wife is about to give birth and when they arrive in the town cannot find any empty rooms for rent. So they settle in the warm stable sharing the quarters with all the animals resting there for the night. Mariamne goes into labor and gives birth to a son, who is called the Christ, the King of Peace. She names him Joshua (Jesus).

Now this article is not another retelling of the angels and the shepherds or the Magi. It is not the story of the glorious star.  This article is about the relationship between a woman and a man, a husband and a wife; two people who cared deeply for each other and whose love helped them to endure hardship.

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When times are difficult financially and the world is a chaotic place, the solace you usually  find in a relationship with someone you love can be severely tested. Love doesn’t always win out over despair and misery, not by itself. It takes effort, positive caring, and planning to help get a couple through bad times.

Mariamne and Yusuf certainly lived in unsettled times and they had to deal not only with a newborn baby but the danger of religious persecution. They needed to be a united couple in order to survive what was happening around them. They lived in a country with the burden of heavy taxes, the cruelty of wars and uprisings, and a head of state who had created a financial mess for his people. What they faced in their own time is not so different from what many families are facing today.

If Mariamne and Yusuf could not depend on each other for solace, support, and advice they would have never been able to survive. As a couple, they helped each other.

It is the same with couples now-survival depends on being strong together. The great thing is you don’t have to be strong at the same time. Each partner shows strength at different times during a hardship. That is what being supportive means. I rely on your strength when I need to do so and then you rely on me when you need to. That’s a relationship of love.

The reality of love should be that each can depend on the other when there is a need. Yusuf and Mariamne depended on their strength to survive and thrive as a family. Heir gift to each other was their strength.

While going through hard times remember that the person you love needs your support just as you need his.

Times change and bad days give way to good ones. Surviving difficulties together makes your love stronger and the good times all the better.

Remember this holiday season that it isn’t the presents you open that will be treasured; the sweet gift you can give the one you love can’t be admired or worn. No, the sweetest gift you will give is intangible; it is your strength and your support.

Happy holidays to all and blessings for a beautiful New Year!

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© 2012 copyright Kristen Houghton

Follow @kristenhoughton on Twitter for more updates

Need a last minute gift? Check out these books by Kristen Houghton:

No Woman Diets Alone - There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut

And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First 



Remember, Hetty? (A Short Story)



Nourishing Thoughts: The Little Book of Sayings for a Healthy, Happy Life

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