Perhaps you’ve heard before that January is “divorce month” – and it’s true! Statistically speaking, the beginning of the year sees a huge spike in divorce filings, and many attorneys report the same experience.
Why January? Well, one of the largest possible reasons can be found in the stress of the holidays – and in the resulting New Year’s resolutions. Think about it – from Halloween on, trough Thanksgiving and Christmas, families are spending money, spending time with in-laws, stressing about costumes or gifts for the kids, entertaining visitors, and so much more. All of this can stack up and cause stress in a marriage – and if things are already rocky, you may lash out at each other…
For couples already struggling, this time of year can really put the relationship to the test, and after the holiday fray is over, they may be ready to call it quits. Unfortunately, many of the couples that become part of this yearly statistic don’t realize how the time of year may be affecting them. Add the fact that, for many people, this time of year also means less than pleasant weather, seasonal depression, and the like – and you can see how external factors can take a toll on an already troubled relationship.
So, what can be done?
First and foremost, make the time to work on your marriage. Even outside of this “troublesome” time of year, if you’re feeling disconnected, arguing constantly, having trouble in the bedroom, and so on – you HAVE to address it! Even if the conversation is difficult to have, your marriage is doomed if you aren’t willing to address the issues coming between you.
More specifically, you can both acknowledge that you’re getting into a particularly stressful time of year, and commit to not taking out that stress on one another. Instead, you can become “partners” in dealing with all the headaches the holidays can bring. Make a point to spend some quality time alone together, even in the chaos of family gatherings and school parties. If you know in advance that it’s going to be stressful, you and your spouse can laugh it off together.
You can take this a step further. Instead of seeing all the obligations the holidays may bring, and letting your responsibilities pull you away from one another, look at this time of year as one for love and family. Let these family moments pull you closer together. Instead of focusing on the money you spent on costumes, embrace the fun your children are having and be proud of them together. Instead of getting upset about the preparations needed for Thanksgiving dinner, focus on the opportunity to spend time together. To go even further (if it isn’t too much on your plate), incorporate “couple’s” plans into your holiday. Have your own holiday dinner, have your own gift exchange, dress up for each other… Whatever sounds enjoyable to you!
Regardless of the time of year, it’s critical that you and your spouse acknowledge the trouble in the relationship, and take steps toward fixing the problems. Whether it’s seeing a counselor, using the StrongMarriageNow system, or simply committing to better communication and time spent together, you can make significant improvements and avoid becoming another divorce statistic.
The holidays can be a wonderful time of year, but it can also take a heavy toll on couples. The January statistics are very real, but you don’t have to fall victim to the trends – or the temptations – of giving up around the beginning of the year.
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com