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The Holidays Are
No Time to Split Up

What is marriage counseling expert Nancy Wasson’s best advice for couples planning to split up over the holidays? “Don’t do it!” she warns. “Timing is everything. Don’t be the grinch who stole Christmas -- or you may have a lot to regret later.”

Nancy Wasson has advice for couples planning to call it quits over the holidays. “Don’t break up now,” she says. “Things are stressful enough this time of year without visiting the trauma of a marriage separation on yourself and your family.”

Wasson admits it’s hard to get excited about holiday decorating, gift giving, family dinners and parties-parties-parties when you’re co-existing in the same household with a husband or wife with whom you are anything but close.

Is there a way to get through it?

“Yes,” she assures. “But first, you must look the situation straight in the face. You can’t check out or wave a wand and make the holidays disappear, no matter how much you want to. But you can learn ways to relax and practice patience as you make your way through the season.

Wasson offers six tips for surviving December in one piece ­ even when your marriage is falling apart.

  1. Fight depression with action. Limit alcoholic intake. At the first sign you’re sinking, break the cycle and reach out. When you crawl inside yourself there’s no where to go but down.
  2. Stay in the present moment. Speculating on the worst possible outcome for your marriage instead focusing on what you can control today prevents opportunities for growth and change.
  3. Monitor your self-talk. Tell yourself: “I can get through this. Little by little, day by day, I am taking positive steps and making sound choices for a brighter future. I can’t do it all at once, but I certainly can do it.”
  4. Release the burden of unrealistic expectations ­ yours and others. You cannot pretend everything is fine when it’s not. Don’t be embarrassed to accept help. For instance, take a break by allowing trusted friends to include your kids in activities they have planned for their children.
  5. Stay in close contact with the people you enjoy most, such as church friends and favorite family members. Distance yourself from negative, judgmental people and ignore prying questions. Now more than ever, you need to connect with the positive people in your life.
  6. Focus on what is good in your life. Read uplifting books, listen to motivational tapes and inspiring music. Exercise, do small favors for friends and corny as it sounds, don’t forget to smile whenever you can. This is food for the soul.

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