Vardags’ President Ayesha Vardag wrote for SLOAN! Magazine, sharing her tips for building a successful marriage during the Christmas period and avoiding being one of the couples that heads for a January divorce.
Her fist tip was to consider dining out, saying that “I discovered the joy of Yule dining out when I set about cooking one Christmas and found that the giant haunch of venison I’d been defrosting was still like a rock. We dined at the local pub, the Wykeham Arms in Winchester – fantastic, and full of all the atmosphere and buzz of sharing everyone else’s Christmas cheer. I got to talk and laugh with my family rather than just bossing them around in a quasi-military food operation.” Whilst she also advocated finding an imaginative way to celebrate Christmas, saying “You might go to anti-trad on a Caribbean beach or super-trad in a Viennese Christmas market, but consider a change of scene to make it a bit more fun.”
Ayesha also cautioned couples to stay out of the way of trouble during the booze filled Christmas holidays. “Drink moderately, if you like, but avoid getting drunk. As a divorce lawyer I deal with a lot of the aftermath of domestic violence or bitterly abusive arguments over Christmas, and they’re almost always alcohol-related,” she warned, adding “You don’t have to become the Von Trapp family – but just getting everybody steadily pickled through the most stressful day of the year just doesn’t make sense.”
For those who find temptation too great, Ayesha urged discretion, saying “If, for one reason or another, you’re having an affair, but you want to keep your marriage together –either because that’s how, tacitly or expressly, you and your partner make things work, or because you haven’t made up your mind what you want yet, be very careful. Turn your phone off and keep it with you – most of our post-adultery Christmas custom comes from texts and calls discovered in an unguarded moment. Lovers suffer from separation anxiety and loneliness and the texting flies. Nipping off down the garden for an illicit chat is a bad idea too.”
Ayesha went on to advise a sensible approach to present giving, saying “be as generous as you comfortably can be. Don’t stint on the one day a year that you all get together and give to make each other happy – it’s too important to short-change. At the same time, don’t overstretch yourself” She also suggested the idea of having two Christmases, to spread the burden and the joy of the holiday season, as well as encouraging their partners to take an active role in the family Christmas.
Finally, she advised people to be sexy and loving to their husband or wife, saying “Emotions run high at Christmas, and people almost see it like a litmus test for their whole relationship, even for their whole way of life. Make sure the impact you have on that day, the memories your partner has of you, are really positive, to carry you into the next year.”