It is once again that most wonderful time of the year. Yet, you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of making it through this cheerful time if you and your spouse head into family togetherness while thinking through a divorce.
For some couples, divorce is the right option. Ending the marriage can allow you both to focus on your role as a wonderful co-parent. For others, staying in the marriage is the best fit. Until you make that decision, how can you stay sane through the rest of the holiday season?
- Talk through your plans. This year especially, make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page for the holidays. What specific traditions are most important to each of you? Which family events or parties are most significant for you to attend? Communicate about your desires as much as possible instead of assuming that you and your spouse have the same expectations.
- Do not expect one perfect day to miraculously fix everything. Though we all love the fun spirit of Christmas magic, putting too much emphasis on the healing power of the holidays can be a fast track to a big blow-up. Research indicates that many couples treat the holidays as a last ditch effort to save the marriage and then file for divorce in the early months of the next year. Enjoy the season, but do not look for one day to erase a few months of stress.
- Create space for your own celebrations as well as family memories. Though spending time with extended family is often a large part of the holidays, give yourself some extra grace this year if you need time to yourself. Let your spouse wrangle the kids to a visit with Great Aunt Ethel if you do not enjoy that trip. Spend time on self-care or even volunteering instead of gritting your teeth through family time.
Finally, remember that you are not alone if you are not in the Christmas spirit. Many couples weather this time of year in a season of doubt and find clarity about next steps once the holidays have passed.