With songs blasting from the car radio to adverts around every corner, at Christmas time we’re bombarded with messages telling us Christmas is a time of peace, love and joy. Unfortunately, however, for many us Christmas induces stress and anxiety as we come under increasing pressure to pull off a memorable Christmas for our nearest and dearest.
From the expectation to buy the perfect present for loved ones, to the effort that goes into decorating the house, attending social get-togethers…not to mention all the preparation and cooking that goes in to hosting a family Christmas dinner! The list really is endless and Christmas can end up being a drain on our finances and energy.
It’s easy to see how and why relationship difficulties can rear their ugly head during the Christmas period; when you end up spending more time together as a couple and your differences become more pronounced. You may be able to cover up such issues for most of the year as the day-to-day routine takes up most of your headspace. But what happens when your routine is off-set at Christmas and you find you are not experiencing the love, support and ‘togetherness’ you would like to?
The likelihood is you may find yourself quarrelling more with your partner, perhaps you resort to ignoring one another, or walking on eggshells for fear of upsetting the other person. Tensions can arise making you feel more frazzled than festive and it can be hard to put a ‘brave face’ on for children and the grandparents, but what is the alternative?
Whilst Christmas can be make or break for your relationship, there may be a way to face the festive season in a more positive and mindful way.
Here are our top recommendations for coping with Christmas when your relationship is under strain:
- If you have children, try to avoid arguing in front of them. This will only cause additional upset for everyone concerned.
- Keep the lines of communication open with one another and resist the urge to lash out and say nasty things to hurt the other person.
- Take each day as it comes and take time out to do something you enjoy - whether it is a long walk or reading a magazine over a hot cup of coffee.
- Let go of ‘perfect’. Don’t feel you have to make Christmas pudding from scratch and have the house decorated from top to bottom. Cut corners where you can! Try to leave some time for you…and your relationship.
- Don’t be a big spender. Only buy what you can afford as getting into debt will only put you under more stress.
Choosing to approach the festive period in a positive mindset will stand you in good stead, and when the madness of Christmas fades, you can take time out to really contemplate and evaluate the quality of your relationship and family life.
If you have been suffering relationship issues for a long time and Christmas was the final straw to break the camels’ back, it’s time to have an open and honest conversation with your spouse, even if it will be very difficult to do. Burying your head in the sand can only go on for a limited time before things come to a head, and talking over your issues and sharing your feelings with your spouse could be the best thing you ever do and be the first step to resolving things.
Whilst it may be tempting to lash out at one another, play the blame game, or simply ignore the fact that problems exist, this will help no one in the long-run. Often at a time of marital stress, divorce is spoken about rashly, but before you consider this as the only way out of your problems, consider counselling or a trial separation to see how you get on. The key is to take a proactive step to remedying your problems.
Whether or not you feel your marriage is over, it may be beneficial to speak to a solicitor to talk through the options so that you can understand the process involved in a legal separation or divorce. Divorces can be expensive and if this is a route you decide to take you will want early advice on how to get your house in order and sort out your finances.
At Hunt Solicitors our Family Law team can help advise you on the steps to take and will work to resolve decisions about your property and assets and childcare arrangements (if applicable). We always listen with a friendly ear and provide sound legal advice to help you make decisions about your future. Our first consultation is confidential and free and you will be under no obligation to take things any further. To organise your appointment, please click here to complete our short form.