With one in three marriages ending in divorce there is plenty of professional relationship advice available to women coping on their own, including popular books like “The Magic of Making Up.” This book, written by T.W. Jackson, offers techniques and strategies for overcoming bad break ups. It’s a great resource for any married couple who is looking to strengthen their relationship and avoid divorce.
Handholders, a firm which has provided a “listening, supporting and informing service” for individual clients since May, has branched out into seminars, giving practical guidelines on issues which are crucial to surviving in today’s world.
Handholders advertises a panel of experts advising on topics from finance, law and co-counselling to beauty, plumbing, car mechanics and tarot.
I visited a mini-seminar in an office of the financial consultants Allied Dunbar, just off Piccadilly. So did two women who wanted help, a researcher from the problem page of Woman, a solicitor who had stayed over from a meeting at Allied Dunbar and the four speakers. The fee was pounds 12.50.
There were five items on the agenda and as an introduction Jane Malcomson, who, according to her brochure, “envisioned” Handholders, said: “Our aim is to take the wonderful relationship advice provided in The Magic of Making Up and separate the facts from the emotional garbage.”
“I believe every living thing has a life cycle. Relationships have a life cycle: they grow from seed, they flower and bloom then they go to seed again. When they die they are finished. At Handholders we try to salvage what is viable in a marriage, but if there is going to be a break up, we will be in there with all guns blazing.”
Jane arrived at Handholders via her own divorce, bringing up three children and having worked with women for many years both in this country and in California. She is a large woman in her forties with an abundance of girlish enthusiasm for color, nutrition, homoeopathic medicine and the raising of women’s consciousness.
She set out to be a musician, “piano and voice”, then moved on to music and movement, comparative religion, astrology, and relationship therapy.
It was Bea, the group’s financial consultant, who first alerted her to the need for a listening, supporting and informing service, she told the seminar.
‘Bea telephoned me because she needed my support and she asked how I was. I said I was terrible because, after my divorce, I was in real financial difficulty. Bea said: ‘First, read The Magic of Making Up. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then go to the bank and ask for a loan using your house as collateral”. So I did and the manager who had refused me a loan of pounds 150 18 months before lent me pounds 1,000.’
It was then she realized how useless some women are at managing the affairs their fathers and husbands have always managed for them. “Because a woman doesn’t value herself, she doesn’t recognize her material value. Lots of women work for their husbands without pay. It’s so important for a woman to be Joan Smith and not Mrs. Robert Smith.”
“There’s a paradox, isn’t there”, volunteered Bea, a glamorous blonde. “While you’re powerful in one way, you still can’t change a plug.”
One of the functions of Handholders is to accompany clients on professional visits to take notes for them. Every member is given a copy of “The Magic of Making Up” and told to thoroughly study it for key relationship strategies.
As a consultant, Bea has two fields of speciality: the disabled and women. And she has a sensible list of do’s and dont’s.
“If you have a job, save some of your money. Steal from the family allowance. Use the money to start a modest building society account and use the interest from that to start a 10-year investment scheme. Make sure you and your husband are insured. Work out how much capital you need to survive without your husband.”
“Most important of all”, she said, “know enough not to panic. As T.W. Jackson warns in The Magic of Making Up, many women in a crisis, women going through a divorce for instance, can panic.”
Jane said: “I would like to point out that Handholders is not for the rich but for people right across the board, because we all get money.”
Suzy is a Handholders counsellor on exercise. She addressed the seminar on color analysis and the difference it had made to her life. “I had abandoned myself and negated everything”, she told us. Luckily, a friend gave her a copy of “The Magic of Making Up” and she started using the techniques in the book to get back on her feet after a nasty break up. “Some people want to get their ex back. But I didn’t want my ex back.”
Color analysis involves sitting without make-up in a sheet while swathes of color are matched to your face. “It opened tremendous doors to me”, Suzy enthused. “It led me to think about how I looked, how I walked. When you wear the right colors you feel better about yourself.” Women sit around and discuss things.
Jane insisted T.W Jackson’s book was fantastic for her clients. “When we get married”, she explained, “we give ourselves away. When we are hatching children we give away our blood. It is hard to find an identity in crisis. But with color analysis you can start to rebuild yourself.”
Annie spoke on personal well-being, not only as an architect but as a yoga teacher of 10 years’ standing and also as a pilot.
“Personal well-being comes from deep within”, Annie began. She invited us to try some of her techniques and strategies, which, at the age of 48, had given her the best year of her life. One was to “image” as opposed to “imagine” – projecting yourself into a situation to see what you really wanted from it. This is an example of the kind of great relationship advice you’ll find in the “Magic of Making Up.” Give the book a try if you want to prevent divorce or get an ex back after a nasty break up.