• Emily Pringle

Helping your relationship to survive Christmas

Glittering lights, mulled wine in between shopping for gifts, and invites to parties all signal that the Christmas season is in full-swing. But, we also need to remember that it’s at this time of the year that we see a significant increase in divorce applications. We know that application rates almost double at this time of year in comparison to any other time.

It’s not always the “most wonderful time of the year” for everyone…..

To most people the Christmas season is very romantic, but the reality is that this Christmas wonderland is actually a very stressful time for many couples, and if your relationship already experiences problems, the entire month of December can be a huge test.

What causes the stress?

Time and money. Rushing around, making plans, and finding those last-minute gifts puts a lot of strain on a couples’ schedule and their finances. The stress can be even more intensified if there are children in the situation. Add to that social obligations, where families and friends are essentially forced to see each other, whether they want to or not, bringing all of their own expectations about how to have a wonderful Christmas. Next, add the traffic, as families hustle and bustle with the final details, all the while trying to be on time for every party and dinner. Just thinking about it shatters me!

Don’t blame Christmas

Christmas itself is not the reason why relationships fail, it’s just the final straw for a lot of couples.

We actually know that many couples pause their divorce proceedings so that they can get the family through the Christmas season in as amicable a way as possible.

But, it’s also a time where spouses reflect on their lives and weigh up their satisfaction of things, including in their marriage.

New Year is on the horizon and we tend to think about what we want and what we are in fact getting. It is almost like a annual test for couples, and if their relationship has been on a downward spiral, things are unlikely to look better at this time. The stresses above see to that.

So, what can you do to try and ensure that your relationship isn’t one of the many that hit tough times?

Read the below and think about what you can do to avoid being in this position in your own relationship.

Plan, and talk to each other… be open and honest. Don’t bottle up issues and let them fester!

Break The Past Routine

Have you or your spouse ever bothered to question why you are doing the exact same thing for Christmas that you have always done? Does your yearly Christmas routine make you happy? Do you, your wife/husband and the children actually experience any quality time together as a direct family?

If you answered no to any of these questions, then maybe some reconsideration of what you plan for the Christmas holidays is needed….

Make it a time that you are all looking forward to, not one that you feel you have to do just to please others.

(*there’s always compromise, but it shouldn’t all be this)

Make plans, but be sure to manage your expectations

You and your partner need to be clear about your expectations, both for yourselves and for your family. Work out together what the Christmas feeling you want is for you both. Of course family and friends are important, but don’t always sacrifice your own desires in order to meet those of others. You and your spouse are in the relationship together - not everyone else!

Don’t forget to pay attention to each other during the Christmas season, and make room for romance, even if it is just stealing kisses under the mistletoe!


Periods of increased stress can definitely impact communications. That’s why it ‘s really important that you and your partner openly discuss plans and details for the break.

Focus on what you both DO like, and not what you DON’T like. It creates a much more positive “feel”.

Be respectful of each others point of view - it will not always be the same!

Remember that alcohol does not help communication! This is especially true when there’s underlying issues…we’ve all been there! Try to keep a clear head for critical conversations that may be sensitive with your spouse.

Christmas doesn’t have to be a nightmare, but it is a test on your relationship. With this in mind, you have an opportunity to get closer to your partner, improve your relationship, and have some fun when visiting friends and family. But, once again, don’t forget each other!

What am I doing this Christmas? Well, for the first time in years…I’m doing what I’d like to do to please myself as Izzy is at her daddy’s.

I’m spending Christmas Day with friends locally, and doing a Christmas meal for my little girl and my mum on Boxing Day instead.

And, I’m really looking forward to it!

Merry Christmas everyone! And look after each other x

If I can help you to make sense of your own situation and what you want - before it's too late, please drop me a mail at Or call me on 07814009408.