Our tendency during difficult times is to try and get through it as quickly as possible. But I want to encourage couples to not just get through this hard season, but to grow through it. We are all facing something unprecedented in our history. It will test us, but it will also teach us who we really are: resilient, strong, courageous. This applies to our relationships too. By implementing a few simple principles and practices, couples can grow through this time together, rather than grit their way through.
It isn’t your spouse’s fault that a stay-at-home order has been placed in your city. It’s not his or her fault that you have to work from home now, or that you lost your job. When stress is high and things are uncertain, it is human to look for someone to blame and right now, the most convenient person to blame is the one in your household. Deep down you know this isn’t your partner’s fault or your kids’ fault or your fault. Everything feels out of our control right now because, in a way, it is. What you can control is how you treat the loved ones in your household. Don’t treat them like it’s their fault your life has been turned upside-down. Treat them the way you want to be treated during this time.
Set aside time to talk.
This is especially important for parents. Set aside a few minutes each week to honestly talk about how you’re doing and feeling during this time together. What do you need from one another? Are you feeling anxious, tired, frustrated? Express how you’re coping with everything and how you can better support one another. You don’t have to talk about this constantly. Just a few minutes to an hour a week can help you reset and refocus on what matters most.
Connect with your friends.
Just because you can’t meet up with your friends anymore in person doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them. Now more than ever you need to maintain strong friendships and relationships with people aside from your spouse and kids. Schedule a Zoom call with your girlfriends. Have a virtual game night with your buddies. FaceTime your sister or reach out to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Staying connected with these people will remind you there is more than just you and your household and will provide the support you need that your spouse might not be able to give you.
Love in the time of quarantine is possible. You may be at each other’s throats, you may be avoiding each other, or you may be feeling stronger than ever. But, you and your partner are coping with being stuck at home during COVID-19. Give yourselves plenty of grace and understanding. Make time to talk to one another, to talk to your friends and connect with your community, and remember, this isn’t anyone’s fault. If you do these things, not only will you get through this together, you will grow through it together and be stronger as a result.