Social isolation amplifies some of your partner’s traits, positive and negative, that might have escaped you before you were locked down at home. Their chewing seems louder and more annoying now, or maybe they snack too much. Have they always been this messy? Were they always this nosy?
It’s no secret that even the most loving marriages have their fair share of troughs, and even the healthiest partnerships can be strained when two people are forced to stay in one place for an indefinite amount of time. The stress of the pandemic, working from home, and looking after the kids 24/7 can be a recipe for marital disaster.
So here’s how to stay sane and keep your relationship stable and healthy during the quarantine.
Now is not the time to be overly critical of your partner. Any marriage counselor will tell you that nitpicking mistakes and blowing missteps out of proportion can create irreparable damage to the relationship — even under normal circumstances. During isolation, unreasonable criticism is uncalled for. It’s a highly stressful time, and so there should be no room for unnecessary fights.
Instead of pointing out a partner’s mistake, take a few seconds, breathe, and see things from their point of view. Perhaps they have other things in their mind, that’s why they forgot to close the drawer properly. Maybe they are worried about their friends in the medical frontlines, that’s why they talk over the phone in a loud, irritating voice. Maybe there’s too much work, that’s why they’ve forgotten to cook dinner for the kids.
Ask them why they’ve done so and so — is there a problem you don’t know about? Is there something you can do about it? Active listening is critical. When two people are actively listening to each other, they make each other feel more secure about their partner and the relationship.
Set Healthy Habits
To prevent yourselves from plates at each other, establish healthy habits even as you are in quarantine.
- Take Arguments Away from the Kids – The children, the neighbors, and the dogs do not want to see or hear you fight. Even as you make it extremely clear to kids that they are not at fault, the arguments take a toll on their emotional health. For their sake—and yours, as well—take your arguments elsewhere. Walk around the neighborhood (if permitted, and with masks) or in the quiet space of the porch.
- Carve Out Individual Spaces – Make sure you two have enough privacy to conduct your daily business and pursue personal passions. For instance, set up different work zones; you work in the room, while they work in the patio. You get the first floor, and they get the second floor.
- Don’t Assume Mind-Reading – Ask for what you want. You will be spending a huge amount of time with each other and will be interacting a lot more compared to before. Your partner is not a mind-reader; say what you want clearly.
Above all, don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. You won’t be able to take care of other people if you aren’t in a healthy headspace. Partners who are physically, mentally, and emotionally happy are better equipped to establish a relationship that’s stronger than any pandemic.
Meta title: Keep Your Relationship from Falling Apart during Social Isolation
Meta description: Staying together in a single house for an indefinite amount of time can put a strain on your relationship. Here’s how to keep it strong.