Christmas is almost upon us again. For some, the season smoothes over the reality of our lives with a shimmer of tinsel and a velvet blanket of pristine snow.
For others, of course, Christmas will be perfect. They’ll positively revel in the Christmas dos, the kids’ concerts, the shopping slogs and the family gatherings.
Their turkey will be basted to perfection and the house will be sparkling as the entire family descend on the orangery to gobble the turkey and glug the glühwein.
In some cases, Christmas will shine a flickering fairy light on a faltering relationship. The hectic preamble can cover the cracks with wrapping paper, but reality can throw a stark light on relationships between Christmas Day and New Year.
If there’s no connection or chemistry any more and the weather’s more shivers and showers than sleighbells in the snow, the holidays can be an awkward time.
But Christmas itself isn’t why relationships fail. In fact, many couples give their relationship another chance over the festive season. For others, it’s the last straw.
If your marriage has been heading downhill fast or hasn’t been nurtured, it’s unlikely to improve when faced with TV repeats, demanding relatives and driving rain. It’s best to be prepared.
1 Think of the kids
If you’re separated, try to think of the kids. They’ve done nothing wrong and still deserve a great Christmas. Don’t let them get caught up in the middle of the arguments. Explain that there’ll be a change in circumstances and reassure them that you’ll always be their mum or dad.
Be civil with your ex and don’t put them down in front of the kids. If you can’t trust yourself to keep your anger in, then avoid contact with your partner and keep your dealings business-like. Sort out arrangements with the kids in good time to avoid confusion and conflict.
2 Don’t compete on presents
Try not to compete with the other parent. Bigger and better presents or extra treats are no replacement for your time and attention.
3 Focus on a fresh start
Christmas is the season of goodwill. If it seems like anything but, and you feel about as forgiving as Vlad the Impaler, at least use the time to focus on fresh starts and New Year’s resolutions. Vow to avoid an unhappy Christmas next year and begin
making a plan right now.
4 Avoid your partner’s family
Be honest. If your marriage is struggling, spending large amounts of time with your partner’s family will be about as much fun as a stray snowball in your underwear. Instead of the inevitable conflict, communicate respectfully.
If you need help, talk to qualified counsellors from an accredited organisation like Relate. You can go without your partner. Talking to someone skilled in relationship stress and conflict can help you put things into perspective and make the best decisions for the future.
And if it does go all custard side up…
Think of the cartoon in the Times from a couple of years ago featuring a family lawyer preparing his festive email for his clients: “We hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family, full of joy and family togetherness… but just in case, we offer an excellent advice package on divorce at very competitive rates…”
For an initial FREE consultation on any aspect of family law – at any time of the year – call Manders Law on 01245 895 105.