With all of the individual stressors contributing to pandemic struggles, plus the addition of extra challenges if your family includes children or seniors, it is no wonder that this pandemic has been exceptionally hard on relationships and marriages. The anxiety over the virus itself, the financial ramifications of the shut down, the endless days of togetherness… over time all of these things can wear on your marriage and make you less than thankful for the time with your loved ones.
Several news reports have already suggested a rise in divorces since the start of the virus and the longer people deal with unemployment and the possibility of a second shut down as cases continue to rise in certain areas, but more likely it is those numbers will continue to climb as well. Relationships, marriages, and co-habitating can be difficult as it is. Adding in forced isolation together, added financial woes, and potentially homeschooling children makes things all the more difficult to endure successfully.
So, what can you do to make it through with your partner? A Time.com (2020) article offered a few suggestions:
- Show appreciation rather than criticizing constantly – This is especially true when it comes to finances! Now is not the time to play the blame game. Support one another.
- Ask questions, don’t assume – Your partner may seem a little different during this period, but stress manifests itself in unique ways. Ask questions to find out what your partner is experiencing and feeling rather than assuming and moving straight to anger.
- Not being OK, is OK – You may be struggling, your partner may be struggling… that is OK! This is a hard time for everyone and it is something none of us have ever experienced, so not knowing how to handle it is completely acceptable. Help each other through it!
- Make sure you have alone time – While time together is important, you each need time alone as well. Make sure you each get the quiet time you both need each day, even if that means bartering with one another to make sure you each get your time and the kids/household responsibilities are covered.
- Get quality together time too – You may not feel like being intimate, but that close connection with your partner and the fact that it is a stress reliever can do both of you some good! Take time to get in the mood if you need to, but make sure it is a regular part of your routines.
- Create reasonable schedules with flexibility – In this blog series we have talked about the importance of schedules over and over. It is no less important here, schedule alone time, schedule intimacy, do what needs to be done, but also allow for some flexibility and work on your schedules together so that everyone is on the same page and satisfied.
- Sleep on it if necessary – With everything you two are juggling, it may not always be a great time to argue, but arguments will happen. Make a rule that it is ok to sleep on it, it is ok to come back to it later, but also make a point of setting a time to finish your conversation so that no one feels ignored.
- Argue privately – With everyone trapped in the house, it is important to remember that kids shouldn’t hear constant bickering. Have your discussions away from the kids and keep their schedules in mind when setting times to finish discussions that need to be had.
- Ask and respect boundaries – Your partner may not look busy to you, but that doesn’t mean he or she isn’t in the middle of something, even if that something is a couple minutes of alone time. Ask before you intrude on their solitude. Set boundaries for yourself and make a point of respecting theirs so they will respect yours.
- Ask for what you want and need – This is not the time for guessing games. If you need something to feel less stressed, to feel more loved, to feel happier, then let your partner in on it. If you need quality time with them, ask. If you need quality time alone, ask. And, while you’re at it, ask what they need on a regular basis.
- Laugh! Find some comedy in your lives, in the situation, in the world… whatever that looks like to you both. A funny movie, sharing memes, reminiscing about old times, playing family games with your kids… find ways to laugh and have fun!
Luscombe, B. (2020). Can Your Relationship Survive the Togetherness of a Pandemic? Here are 11 Things Couples’ Therapists Recommend. Time.com. Retrieved from: https://time.com/5811146/coronavirus-married-relationship/