I am a marriage counselor with 10 years experience working with couples. Read below for ways to help your relationship during this quarantine. And feel free to contact me to help improve communication in your own relationship.
1 – Give each other space. Yes, I realize this sounds ironic. But this has been a really stressful time in our world. Even if you think you are fine, take some time for yourself. This quarantine time is unique and can stress us out, even subconsciously. Ask your partner for some alone time, and be respectful when they need their alone time. It is perfectly okay to not spend every single night together. It is okay to take some alone time and give each other space. Space from each other does not mean your relationship is over; space means you are valuing your mental health, which in turn, can help your relationship. It can be hard to miss someone when you now see them 24/7. So take an evening for yourself and do not feel guilty.
2 – Do something different, together. After you have had your space, plan something to do together that you have never done with each other. Try a new recipe, attempt to make sushi, play a new board game, try a new youtube workout, paint something together, make some origami animals, battle each other in MarioKart. The main message here is that when a couple does new, unique activities together, then they strengthen the emotional bond in the relationship. Pick a new activity, and then let your partner pick the next one.
3 – Be physically affectionate. During this lockdown, we are being encouraged to practice social distancing. However, humans need physical touch. Increase the physical affection that you show towards your partner. If this is uncomfortable for you, then start small. Reach to hold their hand on the couch, rub their back as you walk by, kiss them a little longer than normal before bedtime, or just make the effort to hug them once a day. Physical touch can be a great way to re-connect to your partner.
4 – Talk to each other. Here are some questions that you both can answer:
What is the hardest part of this lockdown for them? What is the best part of this? What is something that you thought would be harder but actually is easier? How do you think life will be different after this? What is the the number one stressor for them right now? Answer these questions, add some more questions and learn your partners answers.
5 – Find something to make your partner laugh. Find a meme, watch a comedy movie, watch Tiger King on Netflix, come up with a silly dance, do an impression, even if it’s terrible. But make laughing a priority. Laughter is a great coping skill and can help ease tension in a relationship. Laughing together does not mean everything is solved, but it can help remind you both that you are on the same team. Plus, laughter feels good.
6 – Apologize! This is a big one. If you mess up, snap at your partner, and say something that you don’t mean, then own up to it and apologize. Say “I’m sorry” without adding excuses about your behavior. And if you partner is apologizing to you, then accept the apology. Say “thank you”. Communication during this time can help or hurt your relationship. So apologize and take responsibility for what you have contributed to the conversation.
For couples counseling help or to improve communication in your own relationship, email me at Shelly@friendswoodmarriagecounseling.com