Michael Ford (post until Oct. 31/19)
Family

Does Christmas cause divorce?

By Steven Benmor

Statistics on divorce regularly reveal a spike in the number of people separating in the month of January, right after the Christmas break.

So what gives?

Christmas is an intense period of concentrated family time. Parents and kids are all off work and school. There is a lot of financial stress with Christmas expenses. Time spent with in-laws is stressful. There may be a higher consumption of unhealthy foods and alcohol.

For these reasons and many more, Christmas creates a tense period that could trigger dark thoughts, anger, resentment and self-doubt. From this, one or both spouses may begin considering divorce.

For a lot of people who are already dissatisfied in their marriage, they may hope that the holidays are an opportunity for things to turn around.

The reality is that many of the January divorces come from couples who are already at a crisis point in their existing marriages. So Christmas, in itself, does not cause divorce, but for some couples, Christmas is a time when people take inventory of their personal lives and realize that their marriage is unhealthy and unsustainable. In those cases, these spouses generally wait until after Christmas to avoid discomfort, publicity and family intervention. New Year’s Eve is also synonymous with fresh starts, with people looking ahead and developing future goals and taking steps towards what they want for their future.

There’s an old saying that “it’s better to come from a broken home than to continue living in one.” For some, Christmas is a time to be grateful for what you have. For others, Christmas is a time to plan to replace chronic sadness with a brighter and happier future for everyone.

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