Isolation and social distancing are buzz words these days. With the outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19 everyone is trying to figure out how to cope. This time can be trying especially for families and marriages where personal space is at premium and being cooped up inside all day is the norm.
We wanted to share with you 8 great tips taken from Bianca Miller Cole’s post on Forbes.com to give you a few ideas on how to turn the quarantine into a time of flourishing relationships.
- Be honest about your financial fears; if money is an issue now is the time to have an open dialogue. Statistically according to Market Watch “41% of divorced Gen Xers and 29% of Boomers say they ended their marriage due to disagreements about money.”Financial matters will be on the lips of most people during the corona virus pandemic, and therefore it is important now more than ever to discuss how you will make your money last and stretch budgets.
- Be Mindful; you are at home more, which means greater consumption of household items (plates, cutlery, glasses etc), both parties have to share responsibility on being tidy together. That means sharing washing up duty or packing/unpacking the dishwasher. (If the cleaner goes into quarantine, there is a REAL problem).
- Work from different rooms; where possible if you have the space try to work from a different room during the day or parts of the day. If you aren’t used to working in the same space you need to think about potentially annoying habits you may have (e.g. speaking loudly on the phone, loud tapping on the laptop, video call distractions etc.).
- Be more conscious; people react differently to confinement or stressful situations. For some that means they need more attention (hugs, kisses, words of affirmation), for some it means more support (listening, communication) and for others it means distance (leaving them alone for a time). Which one does your spouse/partner need?
- Pick up the slack; I asked Samantha Clarke, Happiness Consultant and Author of Love It, Leave Itand she suggested that couples should check in with each other in terms of mental and physical well being. She suggested they should think about “Where can you pick up the slack for each other? Marriage or partnership isn’t always 50:50, it’s knowing that maybe today your partner can only do 20% and you have the energy to do 80% and the other days the roles may be reversed.” When you think about marriage or being in a couple, it is a partnership and Samantha is right, both parties need to play their role and uplift each other.
- Communicate; according to Samantha Clarke “Conversation is shared, reciprocal nourishment that enables humans to create and exchange trust, wisdom, courage and friendship…It is an art that has to be learned and practiced and its range constantly expanded or it becomes stultified and repetitive.” In these times it’s important for couples to seek more conscious conversations instead of focusing energy on the current news cycle, depressing social media feeds and inject some curiosity, fun and spontaneity back into the relationship. She recommends it could be useful to play a round of ‘We are Not Really Strangers’ to see how well you know each other or keep the spark alive as you find out new things about each other. Communication is not just about speaking, it is also about active listening – we were born with two ears for a reason, make the space to actually be present with each other and listen. Don’t talk to fill the space.
- ‘Alone’ time ; Samantha has suggested some time apart “some couples in Italy have set up blocked hours 10-2 p.m. or 12-5 p.m. etc that is solo time to do as you please and then come back together. It allows you to ‘miss each other’, focus on your work, create time for personal solitude and reflection and craft out experiences you can do together later.” But I would also like to suggest some romantic alone time, do something as a couple that you enjoy. And I am not necessarily suggesting activity that results in ‘corona-babies’ but actually enjoying time together.
- Quick Tips; I spoke to Tanisha Harvey from Baiou about the article and she had her own tips to guarantee that couples would still be together after quarantine. She suggested that they should take steps to A) respect each other’s space during the day by staying in a separate rooms for an hour, doing as you please. B) Communicate about everything including your fears about Corona Virus. Don’t leave anything up to assumption. C) Simply say sorry – do not let problems build up. D) Have date nights and be creative whether you Netflix & chill or cook together. Option C was a particular favourite of mine!