I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen meme after meme expressing the challenges and frustrations of being around our children all day, every day. What I haven’t seen is the same recognition that this situation can bring about some serious challenges to our spousal relationships. Although some of us may feel comfortable talking about this with friends for others, it may be unsettling to think your relationship may not make it through this.
With everyone at home, tensions are running high as we each try to juggle the responsibilities of childcare, home schooling, house work, etc… All while trying to maintain some sense of self-care and personal life. (Even if it’s just via Zoom happy hours. 😉) Add the other stressors like financial instability and disappointment of cancelled plans, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster!
So how do we begin to re-frame this experience to prevent relationship meltdown?
I recently had a follower share how she and her husband have used this time to discuss what they can let go of and what new direction they want their life to take when things get back to normal. I love how they have used difficult times as an opportunity to reset the direction of their life course.
Here are some other tips curated from the experts on how to make sure your relationship not only survives, but maybe even stronger, on the other side of this pandemic!
- Communication is key in all relationships, but this holds true, now more than ever. I recommend a daily check-in where you can talk about how each of you are feeling and your plans for the day. Bottom line, it doesn’t matter how you communicate, but more importantly that you do it!
- Make “personal space”. It’s okay (and necessary) to acknowledge the importance of alone time. Although I just told you that communication is key, sometimes the best thing for your relationship is to find a quiet space to just simply be alone.
- Establish routines. This is our new normal for at least the next month, so there’s no better time to update your daily schedule. Think about holding a family meeting where you list out the daily activities and who will complete them. Things like who will wake up the kids (if you have them) and get them ready for the day, who will lead academic time, who will do the cooking, cleaning and shopping. It is imperative to talk through what our expectations are of each other during this time. Remember, there will be new and different tasks for everyone (even the kids!), so it’s important to come back to the beginning and start the schedule from scratch.
- Be generous with your praise and positive encouragement. This is not easy for any of us… your partner included. Letting him/her know just how awesome they are may just make their day!
- Create moments of gratitude. Now more than ever, it’s important to thank your spouse for the simple things, like washing the dishes or jumping in to help your child finish their school work. The act of telling your spouse thank you can go a long way!
- Give your libido some grace. If you’re not feeling in the mood, it’s okay. Studies suggest that stress dampens sex drive for about 85% of people. Everyone responds differently, so remember the first tip above, and make sure to communicate to your partner how you’re feeling.
- Call an expert. It can be really difficult to navigate these rough patches in our relationships. Having someone who can help you work through some of these difficult issues can be a relationship saver, and seeking out therapy with your spouse has never been easier! Restrictions from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights have been loosened, and the options for tele-therapy are numerous. Providers who want to provide tele-health services to their patients during this time may use platforms that would otherwise not be available, such as Zoom, FaceTime or Skype. Check out Psychology Today for a list of therapists and their area of expertise near you.
❤️ For those whose safety is compromised due to violence in the home, know that law enforcement and other services are operating as normal. With stress levels at the max for many, this can be a particularly dangerous time. Consider checking in on a friend, family member or neighbor who may be at risk. The domestic violence hotline is 800/799-7233.
No need to take on all of these suggestions at once! I recommend choosing a couple to put into action right away, knowing that the others are there when you need them. 😍
In good health,
Reference: Can Your Marriage Survive the Coronavirus By Matt Villano, CNN