This has been an unprecedented start to a year. 2020 is definitely going to be the year that we all remember. The stress of the coronavirus is being felt worldwide. How is it effecting your marriage?
Many of us are quarantined with our spouse, some with a spouse and kids, some with a spouse, kids and pets and some with a spouse, kids, pets and extended family members. Some couples were in a good place as communication has been a strong point of their marriage. Their conversations are productive as communication flows. This is because both partners know how to listen, understand, empathize and validate. They can sit in each other’s perspective without judgment, attacking or showing contempt.
Some couples who are usually calm with each other are finding that their nerves are unraveling because of the crisis. There is an unknown element and with it couples are finding they are at odds with the person who is usually their biggest source of support. The temporary situation of 24/7 with their spouse and some with other family members is rocking what is normally a calmer household. A house where the couple has communication tools and under less strenuous circumstances do not struggle to communicate.
Some couples who are usually very affectionate with each other have to keep some distance, as one or both is an essential worker or high risk for this virus and they don’t want to take chances even in their own relationship. The lack of the usual affection and intimacy can create tension that they are not used to in their marriage.
Some couples are in a state of exhaustion because there is now extra stress being placed on their marriage where communication was already an issue. The negative pattern of communication is amped up during this time of the Covid-19 crisis. The constant bickering, yelling, eyes rolling is too much on a regular day and now the communication breakdown in the marriage is a hardship, one that is becoming unbearable.
Are you wondering how to cope during this time? Wondering how your marriage is going to survive this 24/7 quarantine? Here are some relationship tips to help you cope, survive and maybe even thrive during this crisis.
- Communication is always key in a relationship. Now is a great time to talk with your spouse. Give each other the time, space and safety to talk about concerns, fears, feelings, thoughts, needs and wants. Allow your spouse the opportunity to share their perspective even if it is different than yours. Approach conversations with an empathetic ear. If you want some tips on how to put more empathy into your conversations, read my blog post Empathy is a Connector for Marriage and Relationships.
- Create a new normal with the way life is right now. If you have an expectation or a boundary, talk about it. If a schedule works for your relationship, then set one up.
- Currently, the situation is 24/7 spending time with your spouse as most people at this point, unless you are an essential worker are probably working from home. Kids are home. We are all eating at home for every meal. We are exercising at home, watching movies on tv, doing everything from home with no outlet of going somewhere different. Set up a time for each of you to have an opportunity for self-care time/alone time. Take care of yourself… eat well, exercise, meditate, read, call a friend. Do things that will hopefully recharge you enough so when you are back in the “together time”, you can appreciate each other.
- Be careful about focusing on the negatives. Since you are spending more time together, it gives more time to notice more negative behaviors. Make a list of your spouse’s positive qualities, all the things you love and admire. Keep the list handy and refer to it often.
- Take a deep breath before you speak. This is a way to decompress before you speak and have a more productive conversation.
- Recognize the things that you are grateful for and share those things with your spouse.
- At some point this will be behind us. How you and your spouse emerge as a couple is up to the two of you. Keep in mind, kindness goes a long way and the little things are the big things.
Fawn Weaver said, “Having a partner in this lifetime to grow together, love completely, ride out every storm and overcome all of life’s challenges is one of the most beautiful blessings of marriage.” This is a great way to feel especially during this time of being quarantined with our spouse. If you are not feeling this way… whether it is constant bickering partly due to being quarantined together or if it is a pattern of negative behavior that has lived in your relationship for years and is extra bothersome now with a need for immediate attention before the marriage totally crumbles, marriage counseling might be the answer. Couples counseling will give you the communication tools that can get your marriage through this challenging time.
We are in a weird time of world isolation. Give yourself and your relationship a gift of reconnection during this global crisis. The gift will have benefits to help during the quarantine and the bonus that the benefits will last a lifetime. Contact me today and let’s get started on transforming your relationship into the one you have always dreamed you would have. Better communication, healthy conflicts, friendship and trust could be yours if you are committed to each other and if we work together.
Your Relationship Expert,