Which is stronger – the coronavirus or your marriage? We are forced to stay in a closed space for days, not being able to rest from each other. You have to juggle work and home duties – twenty-four hours a day, without breaks and days off. And if the couple has small children or unruly teenagers? The cup of patience can overflow so much that a scandal will break out.
Or even a divorce.
CNN spoke to several licensed marriage and family therapists, clinical psychologists and married people about how to save the health of your relationship from the sensational virus.
Which is stronger – the coronavirus or your marriage?
It is impossible to build a stable and harmonious relationship if you avoid communication and heart-to-heart conversations.
Communication is the key to everything. And in dark times, as now, and even when the world economy is not threatened by a crisis, and a dangerous virus is not striding across the planet with leaps and bounds.
How to establish a system of communication within the family? You can have a family council once a week, where all family members will share the latest news and discuss their views on what is happening in the world.
Another option is to have heart-to-heart talks every night. Take an interest in the physical and psycho-emotional state of each other.
Michelle Weiner-Davies (Marriage and Family Therapist in Boulder, Colorado) confirms that it doesn’t matter how you conduct your home therapy sessions. It is much more important that you are really interested in it.
Michel says that the most common cause of family scandals in a pandemic is a different view of what is happening in the world. One gives in to panic and prepares for the Apocalypse, and the second says that the world is going crazy, and not viruses, but alarmists are pushing it to the edge of the abyss.
If you have different views on the pandemic, quarantine, self-isolation and all related activities, you cannot agree and correctly distribute responsibilities. All this only exacerbates tension and nurtures anxiety in all family members.
Leave me alone
Oh, how wonderful it used to be! You both disappeared at work and met for dinner, calmly discussing what happened during the day. Or one of you went to work, and the other enjoyed the sweet moments of loneliness and personal space, staying at home.
But then the coronavirus came and mixed up all the cards.
The smaller your living space, the more difficult it is to cope with irritation and an irresistible thirst to run away from your family members.
How not to go crazy? Try meditation. You can turn on music with headphones and just enjoy the peace of mind. In addition, now is the time to start mastering yoga and other spiritual practices.
Although, according to Alev Ates-Barlas (specialist from New York), sometimes it is enough for people to retire and spend five minutes in absolute silence.
You may have seen a tweet by Molly Tosca, a writer and editor, on the Internet. She suggests that couples forced to work from home together come up with a fictitious colleague who can be blamed for all the disagreements.
“Advice to couples who work together at home. Get yourself an imaginary colleague on whom you will blame. Here at our house, Cheryl constantly leaves dirty mugs everywhere, and we just don’t know what to do with her, ”Molly tweeted.
Alexandra Fondren, a public relations specialist in Northern California, took this advice to heart.
She and her husband immediately began to scapegoat “Cheryl” for all the annoying things they did.
“I never thought Cheryl was such a chocoholic. This is evidenced by empty wrappers scattered throughout the “office”. And besides, Cheryl did not share chocolate with any of her colleagues, ”writes Fondren.
The public also picked up a new flash mob. Under the hashtag #CovidConfessions (“Coronavirus confessions”), netizens share stories that they previously kept secret.
We all had to forget about the usual way of life. News daily changes our reality.
Take Lee Miller’s (New York City Family Therapist) advice to completely overhaul your schedule and redistribute household chores.
In New York, Carrie Ingoglia and her husband Ron Richards devised a winning strategy to balance working from home (in a 576-square-foot apartment) and raising 15-month-old twins.
How is this couple doing? If Ron has to work, Carrie takes the kids for a walk or gives them errands to keep them busy for a while. Another option is to schedule important work events (video conferences, calls, etc.) at a time when the children will sleep peacefully in their room.
Carrie and Ron admit that they have fights and disagreements – how else? But they strongly support each other and control their emotions. If you haven’t learned this yet, now is the time to learn these useful skills. Otherwise, your marriage will fall apart without a pandemic and self-isolation.
All the tips listed above are a good start. But if the conflicts become unresolvable, and the situation is heating up, it is worth contacting a specialist.
Holly Daniels, managing director of clinical affairs for the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, says regular therapy can help people deal with even the most intense anxiety.
“Sometimes just having someone to talk to is priceless. Now more than ever, the help of psychotherapists is needed to help people get through this difficult period, ”says Holly.
Fortunately, today it is easier than ever to contact a psychotherapist.
As of March 17, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, which enforces the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), said it will not penalize service providers for failing to comply with HIPAA rules that relate to the provision of telehealth services. during this time.
What does this mean? Now therapists can use platforms to conduct consultations that were previously “outlaws”. Zoom, FaceTime, Skype – the therapist and the patient now have a large selection of communication tools.
Regular sex has a positive effect on your immunity. But the fact is that in a stressful environment, many people experience a sharp drop in libido. And even if everything is fine with you, you should treat your partner with understanding.
Britney Blair is a clinical psychologist and sexologist from Northern California. She warns that now we must be especially sensitive to each other. “If you press each other, the partner with a strong desire will feel rejected, and the one who is not in the mood for sex right now will feel guilty,” she warns.
“Additional stressors are the last thing we need right now,” Blair says.
Little nothings of life
Now it is very easy to succumb to general panic. Additional stress will bring even more problems to your relationship with your partner. Therefore, you need to shift your focus.
Rob Bhatt, a Seattle-based writer, says he and his wife, a mental health consultant, have decided to change their lifestyle.
“We used to dine out more often. As soon as it started, I started making pizza from scratch. We used to watch the news at dinner, but now we turn off the TV and just talk,” shares Bhatt.
His wife Daniels says that sometimes it’s enough just to stop, look at your partner and thank him for everything. “A simple ‘thank you’ can make all the difference,” she says.