Lewis Hulatt, Consultant solicitor with Major Family Law, the divorce and family law specialists, based in Surrey comments in a time when 24/7 current affairs channels need to bring us constant ‘news’ and the internet offers up a multitude of stories, most often negative, it is easier than ever to feel overwhelmed by the down-side of life. The Easter story is one of oppression, injustice, violence and suffering, yet ends with hope and re-birth – like the Spring bringing back the observable signs of life after the bleak grey months of Winter. Sometimes Spring seems very slow to appear and it can feel like there is permafrost when a relationship is struggling.
Many couples become disenchanted through forgetting the better times. I try to help clients keep a sense of proportion and in an earlier blog, suggested people rise to the challenge of exchanging five positives about their partner.
To help keep a sense of proportion, I have a notebook where I have lists of things I like. Looking through that over the Easter weekend and thinking of new categories brought some dinner-table fun and my suggestion for the week:
5 Good Things
What we did was to pick a category, for example ‘memorable meals’ or ‘holiday memories’ and then both write down five. We took it in turns to tell the other and see how many were the same. We both picked going by waterbus from the Lido up the Grand Canal in Venice to the station in bright May morning sunshine and our first visit to Belgian bar ‘t Brugs Beertje and the novelty of a whole menu just of beer.
Once we had done specific holiday moments, we listed the most memorable time we had particular foods or drinks. Lastly, we opened it up by just giving the other a letter of the alphabet for which we each had to pick five things we liked.
It really worked to have themes to bring up memories, so if as a couple, communications seem mired in negativity and Spring sun has not emerged to thaw your moods – why not try to bring out good memories using my method? Remembering that it was not always bad might help avoid demonising your partner if you do need to separate. I am not a counsellor, but as a responsible family lawyer, I prefer that people are sure that they need my professional help.
You may think it’s all over…but is it?