It’s unfortunate that the whole world is on lockdown. We are all isolated in our homes and away from our loved ones. There are many advantages to being at home such as, working on your schedule, catching up on things you’ve left off and just relaxing when you haven’t had the time to relax at all. But, there is a huge disadvantage with being at home all the time and that is being with your spouse everything single day. Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t spend more time with your spouse but studies show that too much time together can lead to a divorce. I know you are thinking “that can never happen to us, we are strong and we have been married for many years.” I completely understand and I am in the same boat as you but we need to consider our actions and response in times like these. It can lead to arguments and an unhappy marriage. Knowing how to work together instead of against each other can help strengthen your marriage.
Originally, I wanted to title this entry, “Divorcing couples…Before You Leave.” Yet, I realized that there are many recently divorced couples who are still living together for the sake of their kids or because they don’t have the finances to find their own place, and real estate agents are not focused on selling homes during this pandemic. If you are on the brink of divorce, already divorced or are simply just arguing a lot with your significant other, then please adapt to what I am about to say. Any small change can help ease the tension between you and your loved one. Here is what I mean.
Stress Amongst Each Other
Dr. Robin Gurwitch of Duke University has mentioned that if you are in close contact with someone for a long time then it can really test your patience as well as your response. Reason for this is because there is anxiety regarding the virus, taking care of your home and children, and taking care of your priorities. All of this just boils up and the relationship becomes unhealthy. More so, if there are poor negotiation skills, lack of communication and appreciation then it just exacerbates to unnecessary stress. One thing couples need to recognize is that worry, fear and stress are bound to lurk up and are normal reactions to express. That’s why couples shouldn’t criticize one another.
So, what can you do?
Write appreciation notes about your spouse. I remember once watching the Rhonda Byrne movie “The Secret.” There are a few versions of this but one version included Esther (Abraham) Hicks, one of my favorite spiritual teachers. There was a segment where a husband and wife were arguing and many teachers added their viewpoints on it. What Abraham said really surprised me. In similar words she said, “Jot down things that make you appreciate your significant other. If you can do that, you will be surprised by the changes that will come before you.” For example, if you argue that your spouse doesn’t wash their hands for 2o seconds, you can then appreciate that they are being habitual about washing their hands in the first place. If you are divorced and you argue that your ex-spouse is putting you down, you can then appreciate that they are here with you and it’s best that you both be in separate rooms until the virus dissipates. Do you get what I mean? Find some sort of appreciation for the other person just so things can ease up a bit. Supporting this, Dr. John Gottman says that couples should show interest and appreciation for each other. One thing to do is for each individual to find their “Me Time,” in which everyone can engage in activities that they enjoy.
Needing more inspiration?
Recently, I have subscribed to Dhar Mann on Youtube. He is an entrepreneur and has many different storytelling videos. A lot has to do with relationships. I recommend you watch two of them. If you are arguing a lot or are on the brink of divorce, watch this video. If you are already divorced, please watch this video.
All in all, this isn’t an easy process for any couple despite their status. If you cannot find appreciation due to anger and resentment then it just makes it harder on everybody else. If you need to, go to individual therapy or couples therapy. If you are unable to afford it, then write a letter to your spouse about how you truly feel and don’t hold anything back. Use profanity if you need to! Only you will read it. Once you’re done, rip the paper apart then meditate or do some breathing exercise. Cry or punch a pillow if you have to. Step outside for a cigarette, if necessary. Just don’t hold everything in. Let it out because once you have done so, you will then know what to do next. If you absolutely need to talk to someone online, we at Counseling on Demand are here for you. Therapy goes a long way as it helps couples navigate through difficult times.This is the time to come together before something else pulls you apart.
“From now on, you will never be alone; even when we are separated and even if death itself parts us, I shall remain with you.” Ladislaus Boros, theologian