Strong relationships don’t just happen. Tough times will create an even stronger relationship or break it apart. Believe it or not, the pandemic has helped more than half of all couples create a more committed and closer relationship. According to the Social Psychological and Personality Science Journal, people have reported that their marriages feel stronger and more content, largely due to blaming the pandemic rather than each other for the challenges they’ve faced.
Researchers from the study also uncovered five behaviors thriving couples exhibited. If your marriage feels frayed and tense as the pandemic forages onward, practicing these five may help you restore the strength.
1. Practice calmness and patience toward each other. Thriving couples don’t blame each other when things don’t go the way they expected. They unite around staying safe and sane together. In difficult times, they understand you must fight fair and move toward each other instead of alienating each other. Try pausing and breathing before you bring a problem up to your partner.
2. Space keeps love alive so give each other enough alone time. When couples are working from home, it’s easy to encroach upon each other’s space. Make sure you each have a "space" within your home where you can think, reflect, and just be still. Having alone time makes relationships thrive in tough times.
3. Choose to forgive. Forgiveness doesn’t just happen; you choose to let go and forgive your partner for offenses. In difficult times, little things turn into big things, and grudge holders can’t thrive. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting; it means being generous in grace and understanding that you are both fallible, imperfect people who care for each other.
4. Pursue and date your partner. Dating your partner keeps your relationship alive and fun. The idea that your partner desires time with you is a turn on. How long has it been since you went on a date with your partner? Practice weekly date nights and use these times to share laughter, excitement, and future dreams.
5. Assume the best of each other and try to be positive. In tough times, stress levels are high and it’s easy to focus on the negative news. The more you hear, the more discouraged you become. Practice having positive routines you can fall back on. Make a sit-down dinner at least 3 times a week and share funny stories, your interests, or make a bucket list together. Get the kids or friends involved and enjoy the time together. You can eat with anyone in the world if you reach out by Zoom or Skype – something many of us would have never considered doing before the pandemic.
None of us can control the pandemic or the situation we are in with the new variant, but we can control how we deal with it. Healthy couples decide to use the situation to bring out the best in each other. Set the five practices in motion today and watch your relationship begin thriving tomorrow.