Speed Reading — Level 6 — 200 wpm 

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Couples might want to put a little extra effort into their marriage just before March and August every year. Sociologists have identified annual spikes in the number of divorces filed in these two months. Researchers from the University of Washington analysed data for divorces filed in the U.S. state of Washington between 2001 and 2015. There were almost 25,000 divorces filed in the state in 2014 alone. The scientists found that over the 14-year period of the study, divorce rates peaked in August, after the summer holidays, and in March, after the Christmas and New Year holidays. Some researchers said the divorces could be due to financial problems caused by the winter and summer holidays.

Researcher Julie Brines suggested that the anti-climax felt after the build-up to holidays, and the holidays themselves, may leave couples feeling stressed and deflated. She said: "People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past." She added: "[Holidays] represent periods in the year when there's the anticipation or the opportunity for a new beginning, a new start, something different, a transition into a new period of life. It's like an optimism cycle." Couples generally spend more time in closer proximity to each other during holidays, which may actually exacerbate tensions rather than rekindle romance.

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