As a marriage coach for over
twenty-five years, I know that even the best marriages have their own special
challenges. Inadequate communication, silent treatment and financial troubles
are some of the most common issues couples face. This year has intensified the
normal issues and has some marriages questioning their future. The COVID-19
virus has created uncommon fears and health concerns while social unrest and
racial tension have caused a rethinking of how we view our world.
As a result, there has been a
marked uptick in couples seeking counseling. But difficult times don’t have to
automatically translate into difficult marriages and being quarantined together
for long periods of time does not have to be a marriage death sentence.
Pre-COVID, people getting out of the
house during a regular workweek served as a respite from each other. It gave
couples a chance to experience much needed alone time. Quarantine,
however, removes that option, so couples are now faced with continually seeing
each other. This can truly test what your relationship is made of. Here are
two suggestions to help you through the struggle.
some couples find that they have nothing to talk about now that they are stuck
in the house. It’s similar to the empty nest syndrome, where the kids, who
served as a distraction and provided subject matter for the couple, are
suddenly gone and the couple now has to talk to each other. This is where spouses
have to force themselves to break the silence. Even if you feel there is
nothing to talk about, talk about why there
is nothing to talk about. It may be because you have not probed deep into each
other’s emotions. This is the time to do so. Dig deeper, and as painful as it
may be, force yourself to talk about emotions and feelings.
- Don’t Just Talk About the Problems
quarantined, the issues we would normally ignore can become grossly
exaggerated. You will start to notice things you have never noticed before or
second-guess each other’s intentions. This is a result of proximity
overload. So the natural thing is to complain about what bothers
you. While I do not advocate stuffing problems and not talking, I do
believe that some minor issues can be handled on your own without discussion,
especially during quarantine. You may need to take a few hours to be in
separate rooms. While isolated, collect your thoughts and stop listening to the
negative voices in your head. After you’ve re-energized, emerge with a fresh
perspective and talk about the things you like about your spouse.
Remember, the only real problem
in your marriage is the one you choose to fight over and not resolve. Discuss
with solutions in mind. If you are just trying to win or make a point, there
will never be resolution. Your mate needs to know your heart, not just your
point of view.
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