Quarantine brought on by this crazy coronavirus has brought both challenges and opportunities. Like these beautiful horses just released in a new pasture, we're all ready to kick up our heels a bit, am I right?
Too much of a good thing?
For those of us that are married, at least we have the companionship of our spouse to keep us from going stark raving mad. Or, for some, that same dear spouse may be driving you stark raving mad. Turns out, too much of a good thing, like eating the whole carton of ice cream (I don't know anything about that) can be, well, too much.
If you were alone together for 2 months on a beautiful beach, with cabana boys bringing drinks, that might be nirvana. But add the stress of uncertain work futures, kids home more than normal while homeschooling said kiddos, worry about loved ones who may be high risk for the virus, and none of our normal ways of getting a little space from each other, and you have a perfect set up for marital turbulence.
When China began to loosen their stay at home orders, some divorce attorneys saw a 25% increase in filings, as couples swarmed to escape what had become intolerable. We can do better.
If you find yourself in a tizzy, first know that now is not forever. What's happened for many couples is little cracks that have been there are now splitting open from the added pressures of this season. If you can't relate at all–kudos! As much as Mark & I love spending most of our time together, we have had days when 1 or the other was irritable. Rarely did it really have anything to do with the other–we just needed some way to release frustration with things out of our control.
4 Ways to improve communication now
- Know what you need, and ask for it. Your spouse is not a mind reader. If you need time alone to read, or take a walk, just ask. Nicely😉
- Have a regular time to do an emotional check-in with each other. This doesn't have to be a big production. Simply ask each other what you're feeling, or how is your day on a scale of 1-10 (10–couldn't be better!) Trouble labeling what you're feeling? 4 basic emotions: happy, sad, mad, afraid. Just labeling what you're feeling allows for more open discussion.
- If your spouse is irritated with you, take a deep breath, and explore the source of frustration BEFORE assuming that it really is about you.
- Use this time as an opportunity to level up communication skills. Read a marriage book together, take an online workshop, OR check out a resource I'm offering, called Uniquely Us. Mark & I learned so much about ourselves and each other when we took this short assessment. It helped us grow personally and improved our communication, understanding how the other is wired. And this was after 25 years of marriage! Uniquely Us allows both of you to take the online assessment (10 minutes), then we schedule a 90-minute Zoom call to walk through the results and personalize applications specific to YOUR marriage. Click here for more information, or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, go kick up your heels and do something fun!