Did you EVER think we would be told to stay home in the land of the free? Are you getting cabin fever, starting to feel a little stir crazy, or maybe just plain crazy? In the US, we’re fairly new with this whole self quarantine situation. We’re in uncharted territory.
I recently read that the divorce rate spiked in China after quarantine restrictions were let up. Then I read a psychoanalyst, Lawrence Birnbach, predicts that the divorce rate in the US will increase because of the pandemic.
So I decided to do some research on ways to stay married and it hits me I’ve been married 30...THIRTY years! Maybe I know a thing, or two.
I love my spouse…..but need my space!
As an extrovert, married to an introvert, I understand this very well about my husband. So, I give him space. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me. It means that he was created in a way that he gets refueled, or energized, when he has alone time.
Having been married a long time, I understand when he comes outside of his new quarantined makeshift office and sits in his recliner, this is his chance to get away by himself with no outside interaction. It is not a time for a nice heart to heart conversation for the two of us.
Decide together how much alone/quiet time you need to refuel
I love my spouse…..but need communication!
If you’re an introvert married to an extrovert, realize that your spouse was created in a way that they are refueled, or energized, by being around people. When left isolated too long, their energy is sapped from them.
When your extroverted spouse initiates conversation, put down your phone, take out your ear buds, look at them and engage.
Decide together on the best times to have conversations that are going to require more effort from your introverted partner.
Focus on the Positive…..but address the negative
Remember what made you fall in love with your spouse? When we get married sometimes those things that we ignored when we were dating, can become our focus after we get married. And now that we are confined to our home together, become what we focus on.
Don’t let that happen!
You married your spouse because there were many more positive things about them, then there were negative, that is what you need to focus on.
However, it is important to keep lines of communication open--no room for silent treatment or insults thrown in a healthy marriage.
If there is something that is just really bothering you, first examine yourself, why is it bothering you so much? If you decide, this is something that needs to be addressed, let your spouse know ahead of time. You may start with a simple “hey, something has been bothering me and wanted to address it before it takes on a life of its own.”
I love celebrating birthdays in my family and I also like my family celebrating mine.
My first birthday as a wife, my husband FORGOT MY BIRTHDAY!! That was huge in my newlywed life and worthy of the silent treatment leaving him completely baffled. But then I’m not one to hold things in too well, so I dramatically let him know he forgot my birthday.
When I step back and look at this situation, birthdays are important to ME and not my husband as much. I didn’t marry someone that was super romantic, or remembered special dates, but he does love me and always does his best to show me.
What do we do about our differences? We respect them and compromise.
I gave up expecting him to remember dates that are important to me by letting him know and reminding him when they’re coming up. I had to give up that crazy thought that if I had to tell him it was my birthday, our first date, our first kiss (just kidding!), it doesn’t count. It not only counts, but saves disappointment.
Being confined together for an extended amount of time in limited space can make some of the differences more prevalent, make the choice to respect those differences.
The longer we are confined the more chances are that there are going to be some personality conflicts in your home. We can control how we handle those conflicts and choose to extend grace.
Grace is an undeserved gift.
Your loved one may have said something out of the ordinary, acted out of the ordinary based on their day, fear or anxiety that they’re dealing with, but you have the choice of how you react.
G – Begin with gratitude. When you’re ready to react in anger, stop and recognize that you are grateful and blessed to have a spouse who loves and supports you
R – Resist expressing negative emotions.
A– Adjust your thinking.If this isn’t normal behavior for your spouse and what they’re doing is annoying you, realize it’s most likely their way of communicating a need or dealing with something going on with them.
C – Communicate kindly
E – Express genuine appreciation. You may have good reason to be upset with them, and your criticism back to them may even be justified, but remember the “R” and resist your criticism. One time my friend called me right after I had a little misunderstanding with my husband. Her advice-- “Go, take him a cup of hot chocolate and bless him”. I did, and his attitude changed on the spot.
Grow closer during quarantine
Here are some suggestions that you may be able to do while spending more time together:
Offer to help your spouse with a chore they’re doing
Find things to laugh about
Pull out old photo albums
Start a grateful journal and fill it with things you are thankful for in your partner
Value your spouses passions and interests
Let your spouse be right and apologize when you’re wrong
Take a daily walk
Dream together about your future
Pull out those board games
Make a fun video
Do you have any more suggestions?
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