Lewis Hulatt, Consultant Solicitor with Major Family Law, the divorce and family law specialists, comments:

I am not one for spilling things, but admittedly two laptops have been ruined through the application of generous amounts of liquid.   Considering how frequently we have had refreshment to hand when using table-top computers, two spillages in perhaps fifteen years is not bad going for a household.  By using a separate keyboard and wireless mouse, the chances of drenching the body of the machine have been greatly reduced, so I commend that idea to my readers together with a decent screen so that you are freed from having the crucial parts of the machine within splash range.

From all that, you may gather that I try to learn from my mistakes. Solicitors are not routinely taught management, but ‘risk analysis’ is something I get.   Years ago, ‘SWOT analysis’ was a vogue in the business community and it is a useful tool.  You look at Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats.

I wonder if people ever do that with their relationships:

Strengths – as a couple? Do you communicate well?   Are you forgiving to each other? Are you tolerant of the other person’s differences?  Have you been through misfortune and difficulty and survived it?  Do you realise how resilient you have already been?

Weaknesses – what really winds you up about each other? What repeated mistakes or behaviours cause problems?   What never goes right?   Household chores/money/criticism/lack of appreciation?

Opportunities – what can be done to strengthen what you have? Are there new things to try together or apart which might improve your lives?  Opportunities are wide and unpredictable!

Threats – As a long-time family lawyer, I see a lot of these after they have actualised.   What might cause serious damage?  Working away or long commutes.  Distractions and other relationships.   Continual use of smart-phones/email/social media.   Are either of you getting near a zero birthday – 30, 40, 50 or 60?  Are there pressures from family?  Is there a real prospect of a parent dying soon?   Add in job problems or moving house and there is greater risk.

Maybe reflection comes more readily to me through having been involved in both management and mediation, but perhaps we should give ourselves a relationship MOT from time to time?

If those stresses erupt – ‘don’t let the sun go down on your anger’ and find a way to make peace before sleeping.  It can be reasonable to be annoyed, but unreasonable to seethe overnight.