by Paula Quinsee, Relationship Expert and Author
December can either have a positive (or negative) impact on relationships but what can you do if the holiday season hasn’t gone so well on that front? Relationships are a constant challenge. No matter who you are, or who your partner is, for relationships to work, both parties need to put in some good effort to keep them going, and to keep both partners engaged, interested, and happy.
As we’ve discussed before, December can be tough on even the healthiest of relationships, but more so when they’re already quite strained. The financial pressures of Christmas, the family stress that it can bring, and the end-of-year holiday that requires communication and coordination to be successful (which doesn’t always happen) can be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back. Couples end up in counselling or, worse, in the divorce lawyers’ office. Statistics have shown that January is the busiest month for divorce lawyers for exactly this reason. Many couples have been merely surviving throughout the year, often caught up in the ‘busyness’ of day-to-day life that they become disconnected. The longer this situation is prevalent, the harder it is to reconnect and will require some real effort from both partners to turn their relationship around should they want to breathe new life and energy into their relationship
Both parties are equally accountable and responsible for keeping their relationship healthy; but looking at South African divorce rates, this doesn’t always happen. Couples invariably find sometimes-inappropriate coping mechanisms such as affairs, addictions and other such mechanisms that contribute to the break-down of the relationship. Most couples seek help when there is almost too much damage done, which makes it harder to come back from the point of no return but it doesn’t have to be the end.
January is a time of new beginnings, and the chance to evaluate goals and set New Year’s resolutions. And the opportunity to reflect on the state of one’s life and discuss the recent past and set goals for the immediate future with a significant other is always valuable.
Just as you would take your car in for its annual service, we should look to do the same with our relationships.
Couple Goals, as the name suggests, are goals couples come up with and agree upon together, which they spend the year working toward. It’s a useful way to communicate and clarify what each partner wants from the relationship, and a great way to ensure you’re on the same team and it creates some helpful focus for the year. If you are still going strong after December, and you are both still open to exploring new ideas together, it can be a really good foundation for your relationship.
Of course, it’s also possible for couples to become somewhat stuck at the beginning of the year, with their relationship almost on the brink of collapse and no clear ideas on how to proceed - other than the big D, of course. In that case, it’s best to seek outside help. But it doesn’t have to come in the form of counseling – it can be something like a personal growth program or workshop that can help bring what’s important into focus, as well as hone interpersonal skills that will come in handy both at home and in the workplace.
The trend for 2018 is distraction-free time which is going to be the “new ultimate luxury.” In other words how do we make time for disconnecting from work, forums, platforms, devices and connect more with ourselves, our relationships, families and friends.
For the past two years Paula has The Mancave Mastermind and Womenology Masterclass programs which focuses on helping men and women develop themselves to their full potential, and in so doing improve their relationships with themselves, their partners, and their colleagues. Both programs aim to provide tailored insight and tools and shared learning. Topics include personal and work relationships, effective communication, overcoming setbacks, conflict and stress management, work/life balance, and many other useful, impactful subjects that give people the tools needed to live their best lives and ultimately empower them to be a better person, partner and leader.
The programs are packed with lots of insights and tools, a free behaviour profiling assessment, individual coaching sessions and lifetime membership to the programs. All you need is the commitment to attend, a willingness to listen, learn and engage.
Take your life and your relationships to new levels in 2018 and create your own success.
Paula Quinsee is a Relationship Expert, Tedx speaker and author of Embracing Conflict. Paula is also a consultant to the TV show ‘Married at First Sight SA’. She works with individuals and organisations to cultivate healthy relationships in both their personal and professional arenas by focusing on emotional skills and personal growth and development. www.paulaquinsee.com
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