Marriages or relationships that are in trouble often show the stress between the spouses/partners more during the holidays. The expectation is that the family will be a happy unit. When that expectation is not met, people become more aware of their problems.
Unfortunately, the holidays may be followed by bills showing over-spending to compensate for the problems in the family. There are also the football games (or another activity) that may divert the sports enthusiast in the family. Efforts to discuss concerns may be overshadowed by worry or losing oneself in safer activities.
What to do? If you feel that your spouse/partner and you have lost the ability to have communicate constructively, consider working with a therapist who is skilled in couples counseling. Yes, this adds another expense to the family budget. However, it is a worth while expenditure. There may be health insurance coverage to offset most of the cost.
If your spouse will not agree to counseling or you have tried this and it hasn’t helped, get individual counseling. With the help of the therapist, figure out what you want to do. Is the relationship with your spouse/partner sufficiently strong that you can weather this situation and stay together? If so, what can you do to improve the relationship? Or is the relationship so broken down, that the chances of repairing the marriage/union are non-existent? This a time to build yourself up. Particularly if you have children, you need to be a strong parent. You may need to develop strategies to encourage your spouse to buy-in to the improvement plan.
If the marriage appears broken, it may be time to see an attorney. Find out what a life without your spouse/ partner living in the same household will be like. It is also helpful to know what you can do to relieve some of the financial difficulties. Attorneys who are trained in Collaborative Practice can assist you to locate a financial professional who can provided some helpful advice on how to pay down/off your expenses and manage your budget more successfully in the future.
Holidays can be great times. They can also act as magnifying glasses for your relationship troubles. Rather than feeling hopeless, resolve to change the dynamic. Try to save the relationship, if possible. If not, develop a plan to improve your (and hopefully your children’s) life. Seek out some professionals to help you do so.