Marriage & the Coronavirus Pandemic: 11 Tricks That Are Saving Relationships During Quarantine by Jocelyn & Aaron Freeman
The coronavirus quarantine isn’t necessarily causing relationship challenges, but rather revealing them. Before, it was easier to be distracted by leaving the house for the office, your kids games and activities, social gatherings, long days running errands and more. But now, you’re home with your partner more than you could ever anticipated, so it’s making it more palpable where there are places you could “work” on your relationship.
Perhaps you’re not feeling as connected, or your communication isn’t great, or you’re more emotionally sensitive and bickering with each other. You can start to wonder, “Is it just us? Is something wrong with our relationship?” But you’re not alone at all. Some couples are even choosing to end their relationship during the quarantine period, but what if it doesn’t have to go down that path? What if all you needed was some additional skills and tools to stay strong and united?
Here are 11 tricks that are saving marriages during quarantine:
1. Identify When You're Emotionally Triggered
You’re overloaded with seeing many negative things online that are stimulating different emotions, and you don’t want to take that out on your partner. Pay close attention to what you’re feeling and implement emotional outlets for yourself, like exercise, journaling and meditation.
2. Talk About Your Expectations: Dinner Together? Work Hours? Technology Time?
Far too many couples walk around with unspoken expectations, which then leads to get frustrated with each other.
3. Shift Your Focus From "the Problem" to the Desired Outcome You Both Share
For example, don’t keep saying, “You never listen to me, you’re a horrible listener!” Together, clarify that you’re desired outcome is to learn how to communicate better and pursue learning those skills.
4. Get Some Alone Time
You’ve likely never been around your partner (and even kids) this much before! You must have even a few minutes alone each week to recenter yourself and fill your own cup. A healthy relationship includes a healthy dose of both “together time” and “alone time.”
5. Don't Have "Drive-by Conversations"
Your partner is more likely to be defensive if you bring up a topic when they don’t expect it, like while making breakfast or right before bed. Instead of “blindsiding” them like in a car, ask them, "Is now a good time to talk about_____?"
6. Share From an "I" Perspective
If something frustrates you, don’t point the finger and start a conversation with, “You...” because that easily leads to a disagreement. Instead, start your sentences with, "What came up for me was...” or “What I realized bothered me was...”
7. Tell Your Partner If You'd Like Feedback/a Solution or Just to Listen to You
You know those moments you just wanted your partner to listen, but instead they try to solve it for you? We’ve all had those moments. Set your partner up for success by telling them ahead of time if you want them to just listen, or if you would actually like to hear their ideas.
8. Do a Relationship Satisfaction Inventory in the Eight Main Areas
It’s hard to “work” on your relationship when you don’t know what specific areas could use a tune up. Sit down and rate your satisfaction for the main eight areas that make up your life together: intimacy, communication, professional, financial, social, spiritual, family and emotional/mental.
9. Have Sex Even If You Don't Feel Like It
This might feel counterintuitive because we see overdramatic passion in the movies. If you’re feeling at all disconnected, you might not “feel” like being intimate. But initiate the action and you’ll start to feel like it! Intimacy is a key part to the health and strength of your bond.
10. Rescue a Dog and Go on Morning Walks Together
The way you start your morning sets the tone for the entire day. Don’t start off disconnected looking at your phones or email. Instead, go on a family walk and share about your intentions for the day and even share some gratitudes with each other!
11. Implement Transition Activities Between Work and Family Time
You don’t want to drag work energy into your family time. Implement a five- to 15-minute “transition time” between those roles by listening to music, watching a funny video, going on a walk, meditating or reading. That habit allows you to be more present with your partner and family.
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