Did you know that in most of the English-speaking countries that January is the most popular month to file for divorce? I see the January effect every year in my practice.
And when I ask my January and February clients why they (or their soon-to-be-ex) decided to file for divorce in January they usually say they wanted to give their family one last holiday season together.
On the one hand, this is a lovely gift for them to give their family. And on the other, I wonder if it’s possible to look at the holiday season as a time to ask “How can I use the holidays to save my marriage?”
The only way I can begin to answer this question here is to look at the top 5 reasons couples divorce and offer suggestions for how the holidays offer unique opportunities to begin addressing each of them.
How Can The Holidays Save My Marriage From …
- A Lack Of Commitment? Marriage takes work – a lot of work. (And so do the holidays.) But what if you sat your spouse down and explained that the only gift you wanted was for you both to get serious about working on your marriage. It would be a gift that pays incredible dividends because you’ll either be on the path to making your marriage work or you’ll learn beyond a shadow of a doubt that it never will.
- Too Much Arguing? Most couples can reign in the arguing over the holidays because there are so many events they’re attending with friends and family. They put on their public faces and no one is the wiser. You can use this holiday skill to your advantage by using those same techniques in private too. Just imagine how much easier it would be to save your marriage if you could have more peaceful discussions to solve your marital challenges!
- Selfishness And Lack Of Communication? Most people view the holidays as a time for gratitude, enjoying their family and celebration. It’s easy to appreciate others during this time of the year. By you and your spouse choosing to turn toward each other to explore how to communicate appreciation and care toward each other year-round instead of just at the holidays could be exactly the answer you’re looking for to salvage your union.
- Infidelity? This time of year is all about friends and families coming together to enjoy each other’s company by putting grievances aside and wishing each other well. Overcoming betrayal is a difficult path, but one that many couples successfully tread if they’re both willing to start by putting aside their grievances and honestly communicate about what went wrong so they can get to work fixing their marriage.
- Having Married Too Young? If this is your situation and you’ve grown apart over the years, the holidays are your chance to remember what things were. Sometimes your memories of the happier and more idealistic days are exactly the inspiration you both need to commit to doing whatever you can to save your marriage.
Granted, there’s no way you’ll ever look back at the holidays and say “They saved my marriage.”
But, the holidays are a time of hope. And if you can expand the hope you have for the season to hope for your marriage and really give it all you’ve got, you’ll be able to say with confidence, “I have given my all to save my marriage.” Then, no matter how things turn out, you’ll be able to look yourself (and your kids) in the eye and be at peace knowing you’ve done your best to salvage your marriage.
Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce and personal life coach in addition to being a divorce survivor herself. She works with clients who are wondering if there’s any hope for their marriage. You can join her newsletter group for free advice.
originally published on Dr.KarenFinn
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