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Challenge: Reducing Holiday Stress

Surviving marriage during the Coronavirus quarantine

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We’re all stuck inside due to coronavirus. Keeping indoors is keeping others safe, including our families, frontline-workers, and neighbors. Staying indoors, however, means being quarantined with our family members. This one-on-one time can have both positive and negative repercussions. It means much more quality time with those we love, but living in such close quarters may also cause some strife. After all, we’re probably not used to being stuck inside – literally all the time! – without any distractions.

These circumstances, however, do not mean that your marriage has to end, or your family has to break up just because things have gotten tough. There are a ton of ways you can stay healthy, all while keeping your relationships intact!

1. Remember to be thankful!

Yes, times are tough right now, but we all must remain thankful for our health. It may be overwhelming to be around your spouse all the time, but the fact that you can spend time with your spouse is what’s most important. There are so many people out there that don’t have the opportunity to be at home with their loved ones. This lack of ability can be due to the fact that they themselves are ill due to the virus, or perhaps they’re frontline workers keeping their families safe by not exposing them to the virus. It may sound silly, but starting and ending every day – regardless of any fight or disagreements you may have had – by telling your spouse or partner that you’re thankful for the fact that both of you have your health, and you have the opportunity to learn more about each other every day. It really does help!

2. Use teletherapy

One of the most helpful things a struggling couple can do is actually to talk to someone about their issues. There are licensed counselors, marriage therapists, psychologists and even divorce mediators whose job it is to help couples through tough times. It’s always helpful to have a neutral third party, who can look at your relationship and your problems with a critical lens, and help you figure out the best way through these problems. And just because you can’t leave the house or go in person does not mean that these options aren’t available to you during the quarantine. A lot of therapists and marriage counselors are offering their assistance virtually. Sometimes it can be tough to look at a fight or problem your relationship may have without anger or other emotions. A therapist or counselor can help the two of you talk through your issues, figure out how to address them healthily, and get you on the right path – all from the comfort of your home!

3. Find a new hobby that you can do together

With the world in a scary place right now, it’s no wonder you and/or your spouse are feeling emotional. Everyone’s emotions are on shorter leashes. We’re all spending more time together than we’re used to, and to top it off, we’re all afraid for the health of ourselves and our loved ones. Sometimes, the best way to forget about all your problems is to do a fun activity with your partner that won’t remind you of the virus, or any of the issues you may be facing as a couple. Maybe you can both pick up running and go together; you can try cooking together or doing a puzzle. There are tons of different activities you can pick up during this time that you can do as a couple. Trying new activities can lead to the time you spend together where you aren’t worried about getting sick, and you may find out something new about yourself or your partner!

My passion is the ocean. Sailing with my dad first, and then with my kids has been a satisfying hobby for as long as I can remember. Since going out on the boat is not an option right now, I have taken advantage of this downtime to take care of a project that was long overdue and started working on replacing the marine quadrajet carbuetor on my boat.

4. Make sure to spend time alone

While you must spend time together in a healthy way – and, frankly, probably unavoidable! – it’s also vital that you find time to spend alone too. We all need time by ourselves to recharge, and this is especially true now. You may feel as though this is impossible – maybe your apartment is tiny, or you really are required to stay indoors because you’re sick. That’s ok! Even if you’re in the same room as your spouse or partner, having a space to call “your own” is essential. Having a conversation with your partner about having me time and a safe space to decompress is extremely important. One way to do this is to sit down with them and figure out a place where you can go to just be by yourself. Once you go to this space, explain to your partner that while you’re there, this is time you’ll be using just for you and that you can come back together after you feel better.

I read on an article that the number of people suing because they lost their jobs is astronomical, the number of people doing their Last Will and Testament has also skyrocketed. But, don't allow negative thought to settle in. Try using this time to meditate, pray, read, or do whatever it is that you do to center and check-in with yourself. If you need to be alone in your space because you’ve had an argument, this is where you use this time alone to cool off and look at any problems you may be facing from a less emotional angle. Having a space like this – even if it’s just the corner of a room! – is extremely helpful when you’re both stuck inside all the time. It allows you and your partner to feel as though you (or they!) can be alone to focus on yourself. It doesn’t mean that you love them any less (or vice versa). In fact, the ability to allow this type of privacy shows emotional maturity and is a sign of a healthy relationship.

This is a tough time for everyone, and we can almost guarantee that most couples in the world are going to go through spats, fights, or rough patches while stuck inside with their partner. It’s inevitable! What’s important to remember, however, during these times is that you’re not alone. Your spouse loves you, and you love them. Make sure you take the time to appreciate the fact that you have someone to go through these crazy times with. And if you need outside help from a therapist, counselor, etc., don’t be afraid to reach out. You guys have got this!

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