This time of year, television shows and movies often depict idyllic holiday celebrations at which family members lovingly gather to give thanks and be merry. For unhappily married couples, however, the holidays can be an especially challenging time during which they are forced to spend more time with one another.

For individuals who are in an unhappy or unfulfilling marriage, it can be difficult to see beyond one’s own misery. However, it’s important to find ways to be happy this holiday season, especially if there are children involved.

Yes, a spouse’s poor attitude or refusal to participate in holiday activities and celebrations can be disappointing and even infuriating. However, it’s important not to allow a spouse’s negative opinions about the holidays to ruin this special time for oneself or one’s children. Individuals who are unhappy in a marriage are encouraged to move beyond the bickering and arguing with a spouse that may normally dominate the holiday season.

If a spouse insists on having a bad attitude about decorating the house or gathering with family, let it go and move on. Resolving to be happy and make the holidays a special time for one’s children should be paramount. Making cookies, decorating the house, joining neighbors for caroling and getting together with friends and family are what this time of year is all about. If asked about a spouse’s whereabouts, don’t make excuses for him or her. Instead, make a spouse be responsible and answer questions about his or her absence.

As the holiday season draws to an end and another new year begins, individuals who are not happy in a marriage would be wise to weigh their options. In some cases, for the sake of all family members, separating from a spouse and taking steps to move towards divorce may be the best option.

Source: The Huffington Post, ” Relationship Icy? 9 Ways You Can Still Enjoy The Holidays,” Abby Rodman, LICSW, Nov. 25, 2014