It almost sounds glamorous when you envision being stuck inside with the one you love and not having to go to work or worry about school schedules, and it would be if we had planned it and had control over the plans. However, while Covid-19 keeps us home with those we love, it also brought unprecedented changes and fears most of us never thought possible. Being confined to a small space together can be stressful for any couple. Adding in the stress of kids being home from school indefinitely, job changes, and getting ill with unknown virus makes it even more difficult.
Fortunately, there are ways you can use this time to get closer to each other and deepen emotional intimacy. For many couples, their biggest problem has been a lack of time to spend with each other, so taking advantage of this time and practicing these behaviors can help you both survive confinement and feel closer.
1. Focus on being respectful and kind to each other. Stressful situations can make us irritable and frustrated with each other. Make it a goal during this time to be kind; if you lose your calm and say something hurtful, apologize. This is no one’s fault so rather than blame, try listening more and taking your partner’s side.
2. It’s an emotional roller-coaster, ride it together. Partners don’t go through grief, frustration, anger and fear in the same way or at the same time. Give your partner space to go work out or have alone time to process what’s going on. Be there to listen without judgment and share your own fears honestly.
3. Practice healthy coping skills. It’s not your partner’s job to make you happy or take care of you. You’re a team, and you must take care of yourself and support each other’s self-care. Stressful times make us want to eat comfort foods and stay glued to screens. This is not healthy and will only contribute to increased stress. Eat balanced diets and spend more time cooking together, exercising together, and being each other’s confidante. If you’re stuck in a bad marriage, use this time to invest in online counseling that may help you feel better about yourself and each other.
4. Look for ways you can use this time to grow closer to each other. No matter how you and your partner deal with this time, it will become part of your marriage story. Practice learning your partner’s love language and become more curious. Rarely do couples get time to be stuck in quarantine and this won’t last forever. Being able to share with your children and grandchildren the skills you learned in quarantine with their mother or father will be your marriage story that you’ll pass on for generations.
The uncertainty of this situation makes it a stressful time for everyone. No matter how in love you are, you can expect conflict. Happy couples have just as much conflict as unhappy couples but learn how to argue and problem-solve in a way where both partners feel respected and loved. Don’t let outside frustrations or worrisome news destroy your intention of making and keeping your marriage a priority.