Covid-19 Does NOT Rule Your Marriage
Your spouse is the easy target. They’re closest to your heart for sure. But now the quarantine ensures that he or she is constantly close to you, nearly 24/7. The Covid-19 virus has brought on strange days. Everyone hears a lot about wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining a safe distance from each other. We’re hearing a great deal about the impact the virus could have on our health for good reason. But the damage to our relational health could have even a longer reach than Covid-19 for the greatest number of people. Many who have gotten sick, have been healed, and tragically, too many haven’t recovered. But many many more have not gotten physically ill, but because the measures against the virus have been significant, many have become relationally ill to the point of significant damage to the relationship.
Many of us are in danger of allowing an emotional virus to take us apart as well. We can’t let that happen.
There has been no virus in my lifetime that has so thoroughly separated friends, family, church family, and co-workers. Many of us are in danger of allowing an emotional virus to take us apart as well. We can’t let that happen.
Covid-19 has you bored? Date by driving around!
Your spouse and you have been careful enough, but haven’t separated from each other either. You can still get out and date! Cruise the loop through your town. Drive somewhere and take in a glorious sundown … whatever you do, date!
Unique strategies have helped many of us remain safe from the Covid-19 virus, such as restricting travel, and keeping safe distance from friends and family. Spouses can also work together to make sure each of them remains safe. Yet one or both spouses may be direct service personnel such as medical or mental health personnel. They must daily face the chance that the virus may come to them. But others do not need to face such challenges. These spouses can stay safe together by restricting travel and staying home together. But such constant close proximity can reek havoc on our relational health. So here are three tips that can preserve your relationship, while preserving your health.
Hold your partner’s hand. It’s easier to be kind to the one you’re touching.
When you’re feeling irritable, instead of taking your irritation out on your spouse, hold his/her hand while you talk about how you feel. Scientific research shows that touch increases intimacy, decreases violence and violent feelings, improves trust between individuals, builds team dynamics, and improves engagement and overall wellbeing. You do not have to use time being angry. Are you frustrated? I get it. These are confusing times. But you have a chance to create intimacy with your loved ones. Sing, bake, play games, and hold hands.
As we said at the end of the previous paragraph, you don’t have to depend on restaurants, theaters, and bars to ensure you’re having fun. You have a shot at playing the games you haven’t played in awhile. But there are social environments like Marco Polo and Zoom to help you connect with family and friends. Social media hasn’t always been the best for our health, but we finally have the opportunity to connect to family in ways many of you haven’t in a long time. My extended family and we have thoroughly enjoyed our opportunities to connect through social media … what? Our daughter watched a movie with a friend through social media. Another had a virtual Luau. Professional musicians have been holding free concerts from their homes through social media, and we went to Easter services with our cousins who led the songs and worship time from their empty church in Southern California. Wait, did I say “empty?” The actual building was, but we were there and so were many many others. Social media? Really?? Yes. We and many others are examples of a “Social media, a success story.” You can be too.
Play a game, watch a movie, or download the gottman card deck.
Low Tech Love
Face it, for all I just wrote, sometimes our phones and pads get in the way of our relationship. You’re spending hours upon hours on your couch. Then your wife or husband goes up to bed. He/she says, “Hey, it’s bedtime I think. Let’s go to bed.” Your response is often, “uh-huh. Just a minute
honey.” We know because countless clients in relational trouble have relayed just such a conversation. And then the texting happens, which is another version of high-tech trouble. “It’s been like 30 minutes! You said you were coming right up!” “What are you talking about?” “Are you seriously telling me you have no idea what I’m saying right now?” Text conversations are devoid of actual emotion but rife with perceptions, assumptions, and confusion. Most often these conversations move into the next morning, through a period of the “silent treatment,” some frustration, and then maybe the couple makes up, or the issue slides under the “rug” again.
Tech Tips For Your Best Relationship, Ever
The BEST relationships require these 5 vital low-tech skills.
1. When you hear your partner’s voice, put down the technology … immediately.
So you’re wife said, “honey, I think it’s time for bed.” The moment she says, “honey,” look up at her. She might have that frisky look on her face. Many of you would have missed out on that small fact. Rule: Actually Listen
2. No technology at the meal table. Period.
My dad used to sing at the table, we used to learn new words, and we would talk about grandma, school, and work. And my dad always, always had something funny to say. But mom and dad talked … a lot. And we kids learned how couples have good table conversations. You can’t do that staring hard at your phone/ tablet/iPad. Rule: Actually Connect
3. Stay off social media in bed.
Few things separate a couple faster than technology and social media in bed. There’s a wife who used to spend an hour in bed on the phone before going to sleep. She leaned against the wall, her neck bent against the wall while her body nested on the bed. She looked like an upside down “L”. He spent an hour working, or playing his racing game. Both missed their chance to snuggle up, play a little game, make a little love, and have fun at night. Rule: Actually touch
Few things separate a couple faster than technology and social media in bed.
4. Never, ever fight by text.
“It’s been like 30 minutes! I thought you were coming right up?!” A person can read that one of several ways. You have the angry option, the amorous option, the humorous option, or the curious option. However, the vast majority of you will take offense and potentially blow open a tough conversation that might never have been necessary. Rule: Actually Talk
Text conversations are devoid of actual emotion, but rife with perceptions, assumptions, and confusion.
5. Write love notes. Actual, hand-written, notes
Compliments and affirmations you text to your spouse or partner get lost deep in a text chain, and often between lists and fights. Many of our clients are now using the good ol’ fashioned sticky-note to write sticky-note affirmations. Write what you love about, appreciate about, like about, or desire about in the amount of space you have on a sticky-note. You can even “sext” by sticky-note (sexy-note!). Then stick it where he/she will find it. Many couples now have saved these love notes, and even gone back to them as often as they like. A sticky-Love-Note does not get lost in the crowd of the many messages within the text chain. Do it, and you’ll have fun, learn how to creatively affirm your spouse and partner, and you’ll improve your relationship. Would you refuse your opportunity to make your spouse happy? Rule: Be Creative
A Sticky-Love-Note does not get lost in crowd of the many messages within the text chain. Would you refuse your opportunity to make your spouse happy?
You know, these times are upon us. We’re not sure that all the data we’re seeing about Covid-19 is correct, but we know so many of you are suffering the collateral damage reaped from the fears surrounding the Corona virus. We’re here to help make sure your relationships continue to grow, and your minds and hearts can be content, even in strife. This is the kind of day we go together, or many of us won’t be able to go at all.