I ran past the open door with a load of laundry in my arms as I rushed to turn off the buzzing timer on the oven and making sure our teen was finishing up his assignment when my husband, who was working in that room, yelled out the door: can you PLEASE be quiet, I’m WORKING!” It took everything I had to not scream back at him, “I am TOO!”, but I do admit to slamming the door shut on my way past. You know, to MY computer as I was logging in to a work Zoom. I’m working,as well, but I’m working 4 jobs, it seems. I love my husband, but boy, do I miss those 40 hours apart each work week.
Marriage isn't easy. We know that 50 percent of all marriages end up in divorce and with the stress of the corona virus and having to quarantine, it can make things even tougher. If we were going to make it out of this Covid Quarantine alive, and Still Married- I needed help. I asked Marriage and Family Therapist Dr. Jeffrey Kassinove for some tips on how to stay happy during this crisis. Here is his advice:
- Give Each Other Space These are challenging times and we need connection, both physical and verbal. But, we also need alone time and the space to feel not overly enmeshed, suffocated or have feelings that our spouse is "on top of us." Be open and discuss this with your partner. Set time apart and then when you are together it will feel better and those feelings of suffocation will likely go away.
- Let Each of You Know Your Plan for the Day Sharing your life with your partner during this pandemic is very different than before. We are with our partners, and often kids, 24/7. Setting a schedule is essential for success in getting through these times. People all like to have some level of control and to be able to know what is happening next. So, make a plan with your partner. Agree to when you spend quality time together and when you are apart during work or other activities. Schedules are like a warm blanket, giving us comfort especially during this quarantine.
- Agree to Disagree We are more likely to get on each others nerves while we are isolated with our partners. Simple things like, "What's for dinner?" can set each other off and lead to irritability as the weeks go on. Remind yourself and your partner that you don't need to always agree. Have two different meals or maybe eat at a different time once in a while. We are all going through this together but we don't need to all go through it the same way. You are two separate beings with similar interests but not always the same. Don't force it.
- Spend at least one hour a day of quality time Quality time is spending focused time together on a shared interest. It is essential to any strong relationship and, most importantly, it must be away from the kids. We need our relationship or marital time to reconnect. So, whether it is playing a game together, watching a movie, or being intimate, make it scheduled everyday.
- Be a Good Listener Giving each other the space to be heard is important and this true more than ever during this quarantine. When your partner is expressing their distress and frustration, be a good listener. We don't have to always resolve their problems. Often, listening with attention and showing concern is enough. If the venting sessions becomes frequent and concerning, you may want to reach out to a mental health provider to get them support. In today's world, getting some mental health support is pretty normal. We are all going through tough times.
Later that day, my husband did come up to me with a cup of coffee and a cookie and asked me if I was okay. I told him I wasn’t, that I was exhausted, and I explained how overwhelmed I was. He listened and told me he would help out more and give me time to myself every day to get a break. It isn’t everything, but it’s a start. At least I don’t feel like the Covid is going to kill my marriage as well.