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The Greatest Gift is Love

The holidays are a magical time of year — even if you’re in a relationship that is on the brink of a breakup. While it may sound odd to say that Christmas and New Year’s are good for troubled relationships, it’s a fact that divorce filings plummet in December and don’t rise again until March. Relationship coach Beverly Craddock says that’s because many couples find hope for their relationship in the holidays, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day.

“Subconsciously people work harder on their relationship this time of year because they may not want to be sad or alone at times when other people are celebrating,” Beverly says. “The fear of injecting sadness into a usually joyful time of year can be a powerful motivator that can help rescue relationships.”

When Elaina and Dan (not their real names) scheduled their consultation for couples coaching, Beverly could tell that something significant had occurred in their relationship. Elaina was distraught on the phone. Dan was threatening to leave. It was right before Christmas in 2015. Elaina worried that the children would be broken-hearted, and she even feared that Christmas would never represent something happy for the rest of their lives. She convinced Dan to wait until January. Then she began to research options to save the 12-year marriage with the few weeks she had been given.

During their first visit, Dan and Elaina explained their trouble. They were wonderfully in love when they got married and quickly started their family. Two kids and 12 years later, the relationship had become stale. Dan missed the excitement he felt early in the relationship and he started wondering if he would feel that with someone else. Elaina had settled into her role as a mom and she had put on a few extra pounds over the years. The added weight made her feel undesirable and her self-esteem had plummeted with her sex drive.

“What Dan and Elaina experienced is very common,” Beverly explains. “The solution is to begin to turn their focus around, back toward each other. Elaina needed to put Dan first in her life and Dan needed to make Elaina first again.”

The loss of intimacy occurs when other things are made more important than a partner. While there are times that work, health, children, or even other family members need attention, relationships that are strong quickly return to the couple being primary focus.

“It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day struggles of life,” Beverly says. “But a truly fulfilling, exciting, and trouble-resistant relationship will always center on the couple. This meant that Elaina had to put Dan ahead of the children and Dan needed to put Elaina’s need to feel loved ahead of his own needs.”

Through three sessions, Dan and Elaina re-learned the skill of putting one another first. It was what they had done at the beginning of the relationship, so it wasn’t hard to remember once the thoughts were flowing in the right direction. Today, Dan and Elaina remain happily married and the excitement and passion has returned to their relationship.

“Love is our most amazing and powerful gift,” Beverly says. “When we can give it unconditionally, we are able to receive it powerfully in return. This holiday season, the best gift a person can give to their partner is the gift of loving them deeply — even when they aren’t perfect. If you can give that gift, then good things are going to happen in your life.”

Randy Hampton is a writer, social scientist, hypnotist and blogger living in Honolulu.

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