How to Avoid Divorce

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.

Magic of Making Up

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.”

Breaking Up

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.

Marriage Counseling by T.W. Jackson

Men are becoming more willing to admit to marital problems and increasingly seek marriage guidance counselling, according to T.W. Jackson, the author of the best-selling relationship guide “Magic of Making Up”.

Mr. Jackson also finds that more couples are seeking counselling together. Recent studies show that both men and women are trying harder than ever to keep their relationships alive and well.

magic making up

Twenty years ago the council interviewed 3,000 couples jointly, 10 years ago the number increased to 38,000, and last year 92,000 couples sought help together.

Of the quarter of a million interviews given by counsellors last year, 18 percent were with men seeking help on their own.

“However embarrassed men may be because of their traditional attitude that they can sort out their own problems, they are now making real efforts to learn what women really want,” Ms. Zelda West-Meads, the council’s spokeswoman, said.

She said that the move towards equal rights in marriage is often held back by some women’s view that their role in marriage should be to bear children.

Overall the numbers seeking marriage guidance counselling increased last year by 11 percent, with 215,000 interviews in 1983-84 and 239,000 in 1984-85.

The council took on 407 new counsellors last year to meet the demand, but admitted that more were desperately needed in inner city areas. More male, Asian and black counsellors are being sought.

The minimum a counsellor is required to work is 120 hours annually. The average, due to demand, is between 140 and 165 hours.

In spite of the overtime being worked by volunteer counsellors, the waiting list for a full interview in some inner city areas can be up to six weeks. However, an initial reception interview is generally given within a week.

A large number of married couples visited marriage guidance councils after an episode of the BBC television serial, EastEnders, in which one of the characters went to her local marriage guidance council.

breaking up

Some of the country’s councils reported a 50 percent increase in clients seeking appointments after the episode. The National Marriage Guidance Council’s annual report, published today, emphasizes that publicity, enables people to see the problems they tackle and that ordinary people do seek their help.

Divorce Soviet Style

A startling picture of domestic disharmony in the Soviet Union is painted in a new study, which staged a special round table of Soviet specialists to explain new statistics showing that nearly 50 percent of all marriages in the Soviet capital now end in divorce.

The study, the latest example of the new openness being shown by the official media on social problems that were formerly said not to exist, cited the main reasons why every second family is doomed to perish as drinking, poor housing, sexual difficulties and lack of tradition in modern communist society.


“Half of all people wanting a divorce cite the drunkenness of one of the spouses – not only his drinking, but her drinking as well. And unfortunately this statistic remains static”, explained Ms. L Mikhailova, a female judge, who was referring to the lack of effect on the soaring divorce rate of Mr. Mikhail Gorbachov’s 15-month old crackdown on alcohol.

Moscow’s chronic housing problems is another factor contributing to the break-up of so many families. “Some couples have nowhere to live together. Officially, neither of them is in need of improved housing conditions (because both sets of parents have enough living space for their one child),” the judge said.

“But it is impossible to live together with his parents or her parents. Having tried reading The Magic of Making Up, having listened to the reproaches of their relatives, having collided with each other in some rented corner, having knocked on every door, the young people can stand it no longer: another divorce.”

The judge also described the depressing problems facing many of Moscow’s newly-divorced couples when they try after the marriage is over to swap their flat for two smaller ones, or for rooms in one of the city’s overcrowded communal flats. “I do not think that I need to explain to anyone what living together after a divorce is like,” the judge added.

Mr. S. Agarkov, a Moscow sexologist, told readers that 40 percent of those filing for divorce had sexual problems. Many Soviet couples, he added, were unaware that a woman’s sexual appetite grew stronger towards the age of 40, while that of a man was fading away.

“Every third marriage and 90 percent of young marriages are characterized by sexual disharmony,” the specialist concluded. “One can sulk, bear a grudge or practice deceit in the kitchen, but there is no room for any pretense or lies in bed.”

A psychotherapist, Dr. Starshenbaum claimed that a growing number of Soviet marriages were short-lived because “traditions have changed, parental authority collapsed ..there is no fear before God or before people. In other words, the external mechanism for keeping families together has weakened.”

Mr. A. Maximov, a reader, said that many divorced wives experienced great difficulty in getting alimony, partly as a result of a law that husbands must pay at least one quarter of their official salary, without reference to other sources of income.

“Some wives spend all their free time looking for a spouse who has disappeared and others get 20 roubles or so (about pounds 20) because the father has work as a night watchman so that he can make money on the side in his free time.”