This third lockdown has been particularly challenging for our relationship, not only does every day feel like Groundhog Day but our relationship is beginning to feel like that too.
So you’re at the stage now like so many other couples where perhaps doing the weekly date night at home just isn’t cutting it any more. It’s now coming up to a year that we have been in and out of lockdown, you’ve been away from friends, family, hobbies and touchpoints that help you to remember who you are as a couple and individuals. There isn’t going to be a magic wand, the focus for now needs to be on protecting your marriage and trying to stay positive while accepting the difficulties you face.
We know how we should physically look after ourselves, wear a mask, wash your hands and keep your distance, but there are another three things that are important in looking after our relationship. I can’t help but think of the advice that Pope Francis talks about in the importance of saying ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’, and ‘I’m sorry’. Can you remember the last time you said any of these words to your spouse?
We have to accept and talk about our feelings, it’s normal and ok to feel isolated (even though you’re together) anxious, stressed, burned out, talking about it will help. What’s more important is exploring which things will help you cope better. For you it could be getting a walk every day, for your husband it could be a weekly catch up with friends on Zoom. If you don’t know each other’s coping mechanisms it will be hard to help one another through this. Accepting it is hard is part of it, the other important tool is separately and together practice gratitude for all the good things in your relationship and your life.
It’s important you have time for quality time together and also for time apart. A nice way to break out of groundhog day for going on a trip down memory lane, pull out some old photo albums, watch some old holiday videos and when you do have your at home date night, why not dress up? You can also use it as time to set new priorities for your relationship and your family.
And don’t forget the importance of time for yourself, there shouldn’t be an expectation just because you’re at home together that you need to spend all your free time together.
You could try doing an online Alpha Marriage course, or the Family Enrichment marriage course or following the CANA@home marriage series. You can use this time to set new priorities for your relationship. It’s a good time to revisit something like doing the Love Languages test online, which helps you understand each other’s needs, how they are different and how to best meet them. With all the extra time at home what better than to invest it in your marriage.