Although your marriage vows likely included "to death do us part" and "in sickness and in health," they probably didn't have a provision about a pandemic. The COVID19 crisis is changing the way people live, work, and even show love to their spouses. This means that even the strongest marriages are likely to be tested by circumstances that individuals may not be equipped to handle.
Here are some exercises used by the best marriage counseling clinics for their clients.
With shelter-in-place edicts confining many families to their homes, you probably have more time and opportunity to communicate with each other than ever before. Talking, however, isn't always the best option when you're feeling annoyed, anxious, or trapped in a situation you can't escape.
Take a Moment: When you write things down, you have a chance to be more intentional about what you say and how you say it. When you and your spouse seem to be at an impasse—emotionally, interpersonally, sexually, financially, etc.—you might want to restart your conversation by writing a letter, email, text, or note to each other. To make the process a grounding and bonding opportunity, you should both agree to focus on your own personal feelings, not your spouse's. By focusing on your feelings, you will both be heard. You can use these written articles as conversation starters for resolving recurring issues in your marriage.
Choosing to Choose
During a pandemic you and your spouse likely feel less in control of your lives. This loss of control can contribute to feelings of anger and the sense that you are stuck.
Collaborative Choices: Even in the most confined circumstances, you and your spouse are likely to make thousands of choices every day. Because so many of these choices can feel like cogs in an automated machine, you and your spouse might be missing a major opportunity to communicate and bond over things you're already doing. Sitting down to brainstorm a list of 10 choices you'll make tomorrow and hashing out the best choice for your family can make a big difference. For instance, you might decide your breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu or what show you'll stream on Netflix before bed. Whatever choices you choose to include on your list, it's important to think about every option available to you and be sure to listen compassionately to each other. This is an exercise you can repeat whenever you notice that you're getting at each's throats.
For more information on marriage counseling, contact a facility like The Center for Family Counseling, Inc.