5 Tips to Support Your Relationship During COVID-19

Show appreciation for the small things daily. If your partner loads the dishwasher thank them. If you like something they did, let them know. Feeling underappreciated in relationships is a common compliant. Much of the work we do goes unseen and partners can start to resent the other person. Acknowledging your appreciation for the little things is the antidote for this. Think of it like making a deposit in your relationship bank account. The stress of the quarantine is a huge withdrawal from your relationship account. Daily nods of appreciation for the small ways they show up keeps your relationship from accruing overdraft fees.

Be curious about your partner’s reactions right now and don’t take things personal. In a few days’ time, Coronavirus threw us into oncoming traffic, and we are all dealing with the stress of it. You might catch a side eye from your spouse and get defensive. When in fact, they might have had a surge or panic about job security or the health of a loved one jolt through them. Not to mention, the childhood wounds or traumas this could be hitting on. Avoid the knee-jerk reaction in thinking that it is about you and check-in with them.

If you are co-working and parenting 27/7, spouses need to schedule a logistics meeting. Work together to create a schedule that supports individual work responsibilities, childcare and household duties. You need to do this to avoid stepping on each other’s toes constantly and feeling like your work isn’t a priority. Even if one spouse was entirely responsible for childcare and household management prior to the quarantine, this is a whole new ballgame. Both partners need to contribute and work to support the relationship during this time. Use a shared calendar to denote work times, meetings, and children’s schedules. Don’t forget to schedule in time for fun! The quarantine provides a great opportunity to get back to simplicity. Play some board games, watch a comedy special together, look through your old pictures and laugh! Humor and laughter are necessary ways to cope and alleviate stress.

Take time to yourself! All relationships require a healthy balance of individual and together time. It is normal to want to have some individual space. Each partner should schedule at least one hour of alone time a week. Don’t just say, “I need space” and haul ass to your bedroom alone. Have conversations with one another that you need some alone time and works with each of your schedules to take it. Listen to music, exercise, read, call friends, nap. Use your individual time to take care of yourself and your needs.

Put down your phones and cuddle. Our regular routines usually include hugs and kisses when leaving for work and returning home. These rituals create consistency and security for couples. Without being able to leave the house we may not keep up with them. Use this time to create new routines of connection. Phones and social media are major distractions for couples. Work together to create boundaries on devices and put them away. Sit next to one another and hold hands or cuddle. Cuddling produces the hormone oxytocin, the “love hormone.”  Oxytocin makes us feel safe, comforted and loved. We need to feel all of these things regularly and even more so during a global pandemic. Hugs are powerful!

Rebecca McDermott, MS LMFT is a relationship therapist and Owner at Connected Counseling, LLC. Rebecca supports all couples in their relationship journeys. Reach out to Rebecca today at rebecca@connectedcounselingpa.com.

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