In legal circles, January is ominously referred to as “Divorce Month” – and for many states, the numbers don’t lie. Divorce lawyers across the country prep for a spike in business at the beginning of each year, simply because they know what to expect.
For example, in 2008, the state of Washington saw 2,824 divorce filings in January, while most other months float between 1,500 and 2,000.
These higher-than-normal divorce rates continue on into February and March, but the trend stays the same: the new year seems to be a time when couples want to call it quits.
There are plenty of reasons that could be contributing to the above average numbers, from the financial stress of the holidays to the extra time spent together (and around each other’s extended families), from “resolutions” to move on from a problematic marriage to seasonal depression that can come with the long winter months.
While the actual reasons vary from couple to couple, it’s no real surprise that this time of year can put a strain on marriages. Many divorce filings occur right around the time that kids head back to school and adults head back to work after the holiday break.
Maybe it’s that shock of going back to the “real world” after a stressful holiday season that prompts people to file for divorce, as well as some sense of responsibility not to “disrupt the holiday” with such a devastating blow to the family.
Whatever the unique reasons may be, though, the fact remains that January is a high-risk time for divorce. Fortunately for you, there are a few ways to overcome the pressure of the holidays and make sure you don’t become a part of the statistics.
Simply being aware of the “high-risk” time of year can help. Understand that there are a lot of factors at play, and that your stress and dissatisfaction with your marriage may be influenced by other concerns in your life – particularly those that add pressure around the holidays.
If you can segment out what’s actually happening, and remember that many couples feel strained around this time of year, you may be more inclined to think twice before making a drastic decision.
If this holiday season has been especially hard on your marriage, don’t just go into the new year with the same old problems. Stop the problems dead in their tracks by refusing to let another day go by before you give them a good examination.
Before you get back into your old routines, take this opportunity to address whatever problems you’re experiencing in your marriage, and get started on developing solutions immediately. If you don’t address the issues directly, they will just continue. If things are rough now, don’t let it go any further.
3. Put In The Work
After you recognize that you’ve got some problems in your marriage, the next step is putting in the work to get your marriage back on track. As you may know from some of our other material, there are a few key ways to help you do exactly that.
First, spend quality time together. That means no screens, no distractions, just spending time together without digging up old problems – just connecting with one another and remembering why you fell in love in the first place.
Next, get real about the problems. Instead of being defensive, looking for excuses, or blaming issues on each other, take responsibility for your words and actions and own up to your part in whatever the trouble may be. Unless you’re honest with yourself and your spouse, you won’t be able to make progress toward a happier and healthier marriage.
It’s ok to start small – to work on one good habit at a time, to tackle one issue at a time, and to just make gradual strides forward. Pick something you want to improve and go from there. If you’re both working together to calmly and openly admit to faults, develop new habits and behaviors, and support each other through changes, things can only improve!
Don’t let your marriage become another “Divorce Month” statistic – face your problems head on and start building your healthy marriage RIGHT NOW.
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
I am incredibly ashamed/ embarrassed of my divorce (especially at my age-late 20s). My husband wanted the divorce and I am the one who ultimately filed. I am embarrassed to only have been married for such a short time and of how my husband treated me (which I never told anyone about).
It was the first holiday(s) without my wife, and I had the kids over the holidays. I feel like I am walking around in a fog. It is sooooo much harder than I thought it would be.
I truly enjoy this site, for it has got me and my wife agreeing on some things already and my awareness of my flaws are taken a back seat
Pls help me I'm in fog still yet I see the mountain ahead with people who are in my situation and BEYOUND
I needs male friends that are sprite all and that can help me move forward and save my loving family
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org pls. I have isolated myself for ten years in my marriage and I shouldn't have as one of my biggest problem I damage our relationship
I have suffered lost of my mom 4 years ago and as well as enjoy the birth of a four year old a month before mom died. I need a vent or person that understands and who I can vent out my frustration of it all without pretending any longer and just relying on my Jesus Christ who does send people to help us I always felt. Pls help as I still have God and Jesus yet I could use a earthy spiritual friend who trying to save what he has
Hi Mischa - While we are pro-marriage, we are pro-happy marriage. If your husband abused you in any way, please do not feel guilty. Share with those you feel comfortable if you wish, but know you made the right choice.
Hi Gotta - It's terrible dealing with a broken up family. I hope you were able to find joy in your children.
HI Berty - Communication is huge in your marriage. Here are some tips to keep it going - https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/how-to-stop-a-fight-before-it-starts/
Hi Berty - I would suggest finding a great church or local mens group in your area.
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