Quarantined. Now What? Relationship advice during a pandemic.

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Quarantined. Now What? Let’s talk about how you can ignite passion and create the love you both desire, despite a pandemic.

Less than a week ago, life as we know it changed dramatically. We are a service-based society, keen on eating out, happy hours, concerts, and rodeos. We take our kids to trampoline parks, sports events, and use preschools and schools to help care for our children while providing education. Suddenly, the structured, over-scheduled life we knew came to a halt. Kids are home from school, itching to see their peers, and parents are suddenly working from home while prodding their kids to attend to schoolwork piling up in Google Classroom.

Reduce Stress

This type of external stress can pile up and spill over into a marriage. Here are a few tips for keeping your relationship alive and well during this difficult time. A couple who went from working apart are now learning to co-exist and office out of the same space, often with children dictating the schedule. Today, we are not addressing how to entertain your kids. You likely have internet and a plethora of toys. Our only tip is to ignore the mess and embrace the chaos of glitter and Play-doh. Let’s talk about how to reduce your stress and improve your relationship.

Ignite Passion

Let’s reframe this time as a moment where you can intensify the steaminess in your relationship. Here are a list of things you can do to increase your emotional bank account and ignite passion during this stressful time.

Define Your Work Space

  • Set up your work spaces. Define the space you will work in. Now, adapt flexibility. You may have to work early in the morning before kids wake up and late at night after they go to bed. Let us insert here that we encourage ALL EMPLOYERS to be flexible and understanding and know that the daily work schedule is going to shift for people with families.
  • Pass notes to each other. Remember doing this in middle school? Send text messages throughout the day, pass a piece of paper with a heart on it, fold a paper airplane with a love message and soar it across the room to your partner.
  • 6 second kiss. Make this part of your new work routine. Stressful online meeting? Take a break afterwards and kiss your partner…for 6 whole seconds.

Improve Your Friendship

  • Talk at the end of the day about your stress. We encourage couples to avoid solving problems in this type of conversation, and use it as a space to vent your fears and frustrations. Pour yourselves a cup of hot tea and decompress by talking with each other. This conversation provides your relationship with insulation, so that the falling stock market and change in schedules are less likely to impact your friendship.
  • Use the Gottman Card Deck app. Take breaks during the workday or evening after the kids go to bed and spend some time getting to know each other through the prompts in the app. The app is free and available for Android and iPhone.
  • Create a new ritual by finding a new show that you both like and commit to watching the first season together.
  • Tackle a project together. Maybe you have a cluttered closet or want to rearrange a living space. Work together to plan it and make it happen. These types of collaborative projects improve your friendship and provide a sense of “we” in your life.

Increase Passion

  • Get enough sleep. Sleep actually helps us manage stress and anxiety and supporting each other to get enough sleep every night will help you both manage the chaos of the next day.
  • Schedule sex. Yes, we know this sounds very boring, but the reality is that you are now with your kids all day. The good news is that you aren’t frazzled running your kids to multiple activities, so use the extra energy to light up your sex life. If you do not have kids at home, might we suggest work breaks in the bedroom?
  • Take the 5 Love Languages quiz. Now, challenge yourselves every day to show each other love through your top love languages. If your partner’s love language is “Acts of Service” take out the trash or make him or her coffee. If your partner’s love language is “Words of Affirmation” be sure to tell them how well they are doing despite the stress.

Darkness Promotes Growth

The list is far from exhaustive. Be creative and find ways to increase your intimacy, emotional connection, and love for one another. The darkest times can be moments of incredible growth. We encourage you to use this time to grow your relationship and create the love you desire.

Meet the Author

Rebecca Ray is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate and the owner of Modern Family Therapy, PLLC. She is under the supervision of David M. Lawson, LMFT-S, Lic. #2137.

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