7 things we can learn about relationships from Mary and Joseph in the Nativity story

By Dee Solebo

IT’S CHRISTMAAAAS! Maybe not quite Christmas yet but ‘it’s almost Christmas’ doesn’t quite carry the same excitement. The chilly weather, the buzz in the air, the expectation of finally getting the present you’ve been hinting at all year from your partner (lucky you), Mariah Carey serenading us on the radio with All I Want For Christmas Is You and of course the Nativity plays and dramas are some of the things that make Christmas so Christmassy!

This season can sometimes be a high-tension period for some couples but it doesn’t have to be. So as we look forward to the obligatory epic face-stuffing that will take place on Christmas Day, let’s take a look at some relationship pointers we can learn from Mary and Joseph, a.k.a. the parents of the baby born in a manger in Bethlehem – Jesus.

Just in case you don’t know or can’t remember the Nativity story, here’s a quick snapshot of what happened:

  • Girl (Mary) meets boy (Joseph)
  • They get engaged
  • Mary falls pregnant, but Joseph is not the father (shock horror!)
  • It’s not what you think….
  • It’s a supernatural pregnancy!
  • Joseph believes Mary and chooses to carry on with their relationship
  • The baby Jesus is born
  • Mary and Joseph live happily ever after!


So here’s what we can learn:

1) If you say it try to mean it…. There is just something super attractive about meaning what you say, especially in a relationship. If your partner can rest easy and go to bed comfortable knowing that when you say something you’re actually going to do it, then you’re definitely a keeper. Now of course there are occasions when you may struggle to keep your promise but try to be more like Joseph who really considered it a big deal when he made a promise to Mary to get married!

2) Trust…. This listicle could just begin and end with this word. Trust is so key in a relationship. This might be not be an issue for some but if you’re a worrier, you might need to consciously decide to be trusting, especially when your partner hasn’t given you a reason not to be. Boy, was Joseph so trusting of Mary when she gave her version of events as to how she got pregnant. Now this might not be practical in today’s world, but hopefully you get the picture.

3) It’s you and me baby against the world…. Can you just imagine the backlash Mary and Joseph would have faced with her getting pregnant before they were official – like marriage official – especially in those days? They would have had to really stick together and ignore whatever snide comments were being made about them. Not everyone is going to love your relationship or your other half. Sometimes you just need to ride out the negative criticisms and focus on the reasons why you have both chosen to be together.

4) We gotta fight fight fight fight fight for this love…. As Cheryl Cole so beautifully put it, relationships are not always rosy, full of laughs and endless ups. There might be some rocky moments where you have to choose to continue in the relationship despite how difficult things may be. Now sometimes things may be coming to a natural end in your relationship and other times, it might just be a rough patch that you will soon both see through. With Mary being pregnant (especially with a child that wasn’t Joseph’s) it couldn’t have been easy for her and Joseph but they chose to keep going together. ‘Anything that’s worth having is sure enough worth fighting for…la la la la la la la la’

5) Try talking to someone…. If you’re feeling quite overwhelmed in your relationship, it’s worth trying to speak to someone like a trusted friend or an older person. Mary straight away went to have a chat with her cousin when she got the bombshell that she was going to fall pregnant. Understandably, her fiancé, Joseph was not the most ideal person to speak to at that moment. When you are able to share with someone else it will help you see a different perspective and maybe even help clear some of your anxieties.

6) It didn’t matter that Joseph was a carpenter…. In those days being a carpenter wasn’t highly regarded, so it’s obvious that Mary chose to ignore this prejudice. Make an effort to support your partner in what they do and in the decisions they make. Even when you don’t necessarily agree, there’s something special about showing you’ve got their back even when you disagree.

7) Don’t lose your love…. It’s clear that Joseph and Mary must really have been in love. It’s so easy sometimes to get carried away with being in a relationship that you forget to do things that show your partner that you love them. And no, saying I love you after every phone conversation is not enough, show it! Christmas is a perfect opportunity to do so, so seize this merry season and leave your partner in no doubt that you lurrrve them!

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