Holidays are a tense time. I have spent many counseling sessions over the years working with couples on issues relating to preparing for an upcoming holiday or recovering from the aftermath of a disastrous holiday. Besides all of the preparation that goes into the holiday which we can get stressed out about, there are issues of family dynamics involving in-laws and children. Whose house are we going to this year? Who is coming to us? Although we can often find ways to avoid interaction as a family, holidays almost force us to be together for an extended period of time. It may mean kids being home from school, changes in our routine, etc... For many of us this can be uncomfortable. Sometimes our anticipation of the holiday can create additional stress.
The holiday can serve as a turning point for a relationship. Unfortunately, we received a few contacts recently from readers whose spouses have decided to leave them after the holidays. To leave before or during the holiday would be too difficult on the family but once the holiday is over, it is an opportune time to move on, or so they say. I can only imagine what such a family could be going through at this time. How can they enjoy their holiday knowing it is the last one they will all share together? What will their future experiences of this holiday be when they will forever be reminded that this is the last holiday before their spouse or parent left? Impulsive decisions about relationships are never advisable unless your life is in danger.
Unfortunately, many people give up hope on their relationship. They don't think there is any way to fix it, even if they have never sought professional help before. There are people now facing the decision whether or not to leave in order to not lose out on a potential lease and in order to not lose this sought out residence, they're choosing to leave their marriage rather than lose the apartment. It's sad that the possibility of losing the perfect living quarters is more important than losing out on the perfect partner.
What is an impulsive decision? When our brains are under stress, we are not capable of accessing the logic part of our brain so to make a decision out of survival mode, unless you are in physical danger in the relationship, is not a wise choice and has ramifications that will last a lifetime.
Furthermore, many people think that marriages don't require work to make them successful and are contemplating leaving without attempting to get professional assistance. And even if they have gone to someone and it hasn't worked, they're ready to give up. If you had a life threatening illness and one doctor gave you a death sentence, would you not seek a second opinion? No doubt you'd do anything you could to stay alive.
Why is it that we don't put the same effort into saving a marriage which not only affects your life, it affects the life of your spouse, children, and their children. Is it because you think it is your spouse's fault? That he/she will never change?
G-d believes we can change even though every Yom Kippur we stand before Him pretty much the same as the year before so why can't we hold the hope for our spouse?
Our challenge to you this holiday season is to put rash decisions like leaving your marriage on hold.Shelve it until after the holidays are over. Let's talk then.
Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year full of new possibilities for your relationship,