Following up on my dear friend, Stephanie Weiss’ blog last week on marriage in the pandemic, here are some practical suggestions to make it through this social distancing and sheltering in place era and come out stronger.
Focus on the positives in your partner and affirm them daily
This practice can reap huge benefits because what we focus on, grows bigger. So if we are focusing on our mate’s positive qualities, they’ll be more attractive to us, and as we affirm them, they’ll respond by doing more positive actions. This is a win/win situation as it also models for our partner how to view and treat us in return.
Move towards your mate with loving actions
It’s easy to take our partner for granted and not be intentional in our relationship. If we are not making deposits in our spouse’s love bank, there will be automatic withdrawals. Conflicts will increase and we will grow apart.
There’s no better opportunity than in this time of quarantine to let our partner know that they are a priority and show them love in a way that resonates with them. In order to do this effectively, we must learn their love language. Is it quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, gifts or touch? Find out and perform often.
Create rituals of connection
Dr. John Gottman, famous marriage researcher, author and psychologist shares the importance of cultivating regularly scheduled rituals to help the relationship thrive. These rituals create shared meaning and foster a deeper emotional connection.
What better time than now, when we are captive at home and can practice new habits?
Some of these practices can include eating meals together without electronics, going for a walk, watching a favorite show, playing a game, working in the garden, the six second kiss when you wake up and say goodnight, and other creative ideas that are compatible with a shelter in place situation.
Try these or invent a few of your own and see how they work.
Maintain balance between time alone and time together
It is important for partners to communicate their feelings and needs regarding their own space and time to themselves.
Conversations about household chores and childcare responsibilities also need to be adjusted and clarified now that the couple is home together on a regular basis. In this way, expectations are spelled out and each partner can work to honor the other’s needs.