December can either have a positive (or negative) impact on relationships but what can you do if the holiday season hasn’t gone so well on that front?

Relationships are a constant challenge. No matter who you are, or who your partner is, for relationships to work, both parties need to put in some good effort to keep them going, and to keep both partners engaged, interested, and happy. The financial pressures of Christmas, the family stress that it can bring, and the end-of-year holiday that requires communication and coordination to be successful (which doesn’t always happen) can be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back. Couples end up in counselling or, worse, in the divorce lawyers’ office. 
Statistics have shown that January is the busiest month for divorce lawyers for exactly this reason.

Relationship expert, Paula Quinsee says that both parties are equally accountable and responsible for keeping their relationship healthy; but looking at South African divorce rates, this doesn’t always happen. People get caught up in their own ‘busy-ness’, work stresses, family pressure and sometimes-inappropriate coping mechanisms take their toll, and partners become disconnected and drift apart. Most couples seek help when there is almost too much damage done, which makes it harder to come back from the point of no return but it doesn’t have to be the end.

January is a time of new beginnings, and the chance to evaluate goals and set New Year’s resolutions. And the opportunity to reflect on the state of one’s life and discuss the recent past and set goals for the immediate future with a significant other is always valuable.
Relationship expert Paula Qinsee's advice on taking your relationship to the next level. Picture: Clinton Friedman
Just as you would take your car in for its annual service, we should look to do the same with our relationships.

Couple Goals, as the name suggests, are goals couples come up with and agree upon together, which they spend the year working toward. It’s a useful way to communicate and clarify what each partner wants from the relationship, and a great way to ensure you’re on the same team and it creates some helpful focus for the year. 
Quinsee says: “If you are still going strong after December, and you are both still open to exploring new ideas together, it can be a really good foundation for your relationship.”

Of course, it’s also possible for couples to become somewhat stuck at the beginning of the year, with their relationship almost on the brink of collapse and no clear ideas on how to proceed - other than the big D, of course. 
“In that case, it’s best to seek outside help. But it doesn’t have to come in the form of counselling – it can be something like a personal growth programme or workshop that can help bring what’s important into focus, as well as hone interpersonal skills that will come in handy both at home and in the workplace,” says Quinsee.

Quinsee runs  two workshops, twice a year, The Womenology Masterclass and The Mancave Mastermind Programme, aimed to provide tailored insight and tools and shared learning. Topics include personal and work relationships, effective communication, overcoming setbacks, conflict and stress management, work/life balance, and many other useful, impactful subjects that give people the tools needed to live their best lives and ultimately empower them to be a better person, partner and leader.
The workshops start on the 18th of January and run for six months.

If you want to take your relationships to new levels in this New Year you can visit Paula’s website at for more information.