Inoculating Your Marriage Against COVID-19
You have spent the past 10 weeks together – working from home, exercising from home, and schooling from home. Normal routines like going to the gym or meeting up with friends are put on hold, and the stress of losing a job or getting sick is starting to affect couples. There is a whole new category for couples counseling we refer to as COVID Couples Counseling.
If you feel like you’re hitting your limit, you’re not alone. Healthy relationships thrive on time alone. Research has shown that times of crisis can highlight strengths in relationships, but this isn’t a typical or common crisis. This crisis effects everyone at once, breaking down couples’ support systems. It exposes vulnerabilities and little annoyances build up and make you feel trapped and stressed. We are never at our best when we’re overwhelmed. It’s better to sit down now with your partner and make an action plan.
Invest your time in an online marriage retreat. Your marriage is the most important investment. Marriage therapists and churches offer numerous ways to join a weekend retreat that will enhance your relationship and your life.
Practice the 80/20 rule. When couples feel trapped, they begin nit-picking on each other. Complaining about each other’s small annoyances is common in everyday life, but when it becomes excessive it destroys connection and isolates partners. Compliment and appreciate your partner 80% and keep the nit-picking under 20% of the time.
Enjoy physical intimacy. Romantic connection is more helpful than ever during quarantine. Holding hands, hugging, and touching each other more helps couples feel connected and close.
Design a space just for you. Space is extremely important between couples to keep the emotional tension balanced and close. The size of the space is not as important as that you have a place to retreat that is yours alone.
Stay emotionally engaged with family and friends. Families and friends are important for strengthening your relationship. Have video chats, exercise outside in a safe place with your friends, or meet up at a park for a couple’s night out. Limit the number and provide safe spacing.
Marriages are challenged during COVID-19 but that doesn’t mean it’s negative. It means you are learning new ways to help your relationship survive the situation so it can thrive and be better than it was pre-pandemic. Do not give up on your partner. When you hit a bump in the road, recognize it as a bump (lesson) and not a catastrophe (reason to give up).