December 9, 2011

How to keep the icicles outdoors this Christmas

’Tis the season to be jolly! Sparkling Christmas trees and illuminated Santas are appearing in windows everywhere and we’re just days away from the holidays. Rather than joy, however, the festive season can generate a frosty chill in the hearts of couples whose relationship may already be suffering under the weight of too much expectation – both financial and emotional.

We’ve just heard that the divorce rate for 2010 has risen for the first time in eight years – an increase which many, including the Office for National Statistics, attribute primarily to the credit crunch. An increase in the divorce rate has indeed followed every recession since the early 1980s, although at Jones Myers we believe that financial difficulties are most likely to be a catalyst for a break-up rather than the sole cause for it.   

The modern-day Christmas celebrations add to financial pressures and the festivities create a somewhat artificial situation. Just like during summer holidays, family members who usually pass like ships in the night are thrown together for longer periods of time, and a superhuman effort may be required from everyone if the atmosphere is to remain festive.

It’s a commonly-held belief that in January more people file for divorce than at any other time of the year. At Jones Myers we believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of collaboration and mediation, rather than rushing to the courts.

The festive break certainly provides time to think – for better or for worse – and it’s plain to see that if a relationship is already under some strain, this thinking time could be make or break.

“Make”, because digging in and encouraging simple, inclusive family activities such as walks, games and shared reminiscences may just remind stressed-out couples of what they have to lose and encourage them to reconnect at a basic, emotional level.

 “Break”, because no amount of playing happy families will cancel out the simmering resentment if one or the other parent, quite simply, wants to be somewhere else.

We do hope that this Christmas brings you happiness – share your tips with us below on getting through the stresses of the festive season.