How couples can connect during COVID-19

Many couples are being forced to quarantine at home due to COVID-19. Some people are still working from home – some are back at the office – while others are doing a little of both. For those couples who find themselves constantly together at home, the transition can cause added stress to their relationship.

Keep in mind that many of us are a bit irritable due to COVID fatigue and the new environment we’re trying to navigate. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help or support if you need it during this historical time of uncertainty. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that it’s normal for many people to have feelings of anxiety and depression during a pandemic.

Finding ways to remain close to your partner, particularly during stressful circumstances, can be emotionally helpful. Both of you can benefit by knowing how to communicate, when to communicate and making an effort to create positive, fun interactions during your extended time at home.

Here are some tips on how to work through issues and minimize tensions with your spouse:

Use good communication techniques

  • Be honest about how you’re feeling while still being kind and respectful
  • Be a good listener and take the time to understand what your spouse needs from you
  • Talk more often about positive things – don’t just talk about bills and responsibilities
  • Tell each other you appreciate one another and share at least one thing you appreciate about your spouse each day
  • Understand that you won’t agree on every topic and that’s ok

Know when not to communicate - and give each other space

Pausing and walking away to take some time to collect your thoughts before speaking can be helpful in working through a conflict. It’s important to set boundaries for yourself and find a way to get some “me” time. Practice relaxation techniques to help alleviate your stress and unwind. Take time to enjoy activities by yourself to rest and recharge. Your spouse should take time for themselves as well. It’s important to respect that you both need time separately to decompress and relax.

Find ways to date while staying home

Before COVID-19, you might have had a monthly date night that involved dinner and drinks or a movie. With the pandemic causing most of these businesses to reduce capacity, your traditional date night options are limited. Here are a few ideas to continue your date nights while quarantining:

  • Sit on the couch and flip through a “questions for couples” book. You may be surprised what you can still learn about your partner.
  • Learn to play a new card game.
  • Plan a night together to include your favorite movie or TV show and snacks.
  • Find a new recipe to cook together.
  • Eat outside by candlelight and great music.
  • Create a “bucket list” of activities you would like to do together when the world reopens.
  • For more ideas, check out our blog 10 virtual activities you can do during COVID-19.

While you might not be able to control how long you will be quarantined, you can choose how you react to it. By recognizing when conflicts arise in your marriage and actively working through them, you can come out of quarantine stronger as a couple. Also remember, the way you resolve these issues can have a big impact on how your children react to adversity.

If you're needing additional, emotional support at this time, the Bexar County Department of Mental Health has a number of telehealth resources that can help.

Keep in mind that healthy disagreements are a part of any marriage, but if your relationship becomes abusive - that's different - it’s important to take action. You can visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). If you ever find yourself in immediate danger - call 911.

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