In this time of crisis, we are all dealing with stress, changes, an uncertain future and understandable anxiety. Our marriages will be impacted. Many are predicting a rise in the rate of divorce in the near future. This
does not have to be the case. There are things that can be done to prevent trouble and maybe even turn this difficult time into an opportunity to strengthen relationships. What follows are some ideas that may help couples to
deal with this troubling time and hopefully come out of it in a better place.
Talk with each other.
- Schedule conversations. Intentional conversations are much more likely to be beneficial to relationships.
- Make sure it isn’t always about problems, talk as friends do.
- Explore dreams and plans for when this is all over.
- Bring up issues in a gentle manner, the way a conversation starts significantly impacts how the conversation will go.
Don’t talk with each other.
- Give each other some space. You are being forced together by these events, be intentional in giving each other some time alone.
- Realize that we will need to get some of our social needs met away from the relationship. Allow each other the opportunity to connect with others via the different means of technology now available.
Manage your stress.
- Get some exercise.
- Learn to relax.
- Try some mindfulness tools like the app “Abide”.
- Turn off the TV or other sources of news.
- Use effective distraction in a reasonable manner.
Be reasonable with your expectations.
- Realize you will likely get on each other’s nerves at some point. Acknowledge it and give some space, as previously mentioned.
- Realize that each person may react to stress differently. One partner may want to withdraw, and the other may want more interaction. Be cognizant of these differences.
- Understand that affection and physical expression of love may not be what it normally is. Many will have a libido change as a reaction to stress. Most will decrease while a few may increase. If there is a mismatch,
discuss it and don’t take it personally.
Keep a sense of humor.
- One of the most powerful coping tools is a sense of humor. So, joke around with each other, but keep it respectful.
- Find some entertainment that makes you laugh.
Manage your thoughts.
- Keep a positive perspective towards each other.
- Focus on things you appreciate and want to expand in the relationship.
- Be understanding and patient.
- Don’t let yourself dwell on the stressors. Find useful distractions when you find yourself getting obsessive.
Get help/See a therapist
- If things become overwhelming, it may be time to get help. A professional therapist can help you sort things out, calm your mind, and give you tools to manage relationship stress.
By the way, Christian Family Institute is offering therapy via telehealth. So you don’t even have to leave your home to get professional help.
In this challenging time, I have noticed that many families are taking advantage of this time to accomplish things around the house. They are getting projects done, like painting a room or starting a garden. Why not
see this as a similar opportunity to accomplish something in your relationship.
Written by Eric Clements, M.S. LPC