Due to the pandemic, couples are finding they have more time together. Working from home, a lack of late-night meetings, a reduction in travel – all of these combined have meant more time to connect with our significant others. People who are intentional to use this time wisely are shutting off their television at night and working to create greater intimacy with their partner. Meaningful conversation, working together on projects around the house, making meals together, playing games, and having intimate romantic connection are all ways to use this time to benefit your relationship.
When children are involved there’s a secondary layer of stress added. Couples need to remember that this is a time of great stress, and that their (and their partner’s) reaction to everything is likely to be heightened.
It is not uncommon for relationships to struggle under the strain of the pandemic, the economy, general stress of life, knowing how and when to reengage in society safely, loss of jobs, homeschooling and more. However, I believe there are ways to keep relationships strong and healthy during these times. Rather than simply survive this crisis, I advise couples to use this as an opportunity to grow in deeper connection with each other.
Here are 6 tips to strengthen relationships with significant others:
Be sure to Process Feelings: Couples should spend time talking about their feelings during this difficult time. Just as important, if not more so, is validating each other’s experiences and feelings. People tend to want to rescue others from difficult feelings, but sometimes people just need space to process their emotions before they can fully move through them to the other side.
Engage in Real and Meaningful Conversation: Couples should try and find time to have meaningful conversation- even if it’s just 10 minutes a day. Talking about more than the everyday tasks that must be accomplished. Ask each other questions about your childhood, your current goals, and future hopes and dreams. Many couples find even after decades together that there are still things to discover that will deepen your knowledge of each other.
Move Your Bodies Together: Exercise, whether together or alone, is extremely helpful for increasing positive brain chemistry, and working out stress. Taking the time to go on a walk outside the house when possible gives couples a change of scenery that is likely much needed. Even if pushing a stroller or bringing the dogs along, walking is a simple activity that gives couples the chance to move together and reconnect through uninterrupted conversation.
Tech Free Zones & Times: Constantly having a screen in front of one’s face doesn’t allow for quality interpersonal communication. Setting aside a couple hours a night or a day a week to going tech-free really forces couples to prioritize each other, and face to face interaction. It gives the mind a break and challenges us to find ways to reconnect intentionally with our significant other.
Help your Partner: Asking on a daily basis, “What can I do to help you today?” is a simple way to make sure you are actively working to meet your partner’s needs. Whether it’s a good, long hug, help with laundry, a listening ear, or assistance with the kids, checking in to see what your partner’s immediate needs are is a way of putting a “deposit” in your love bank. Having a full account means that, when times get tough, you will have a cushion to fall back on for a withdrawal.
Don’t Forget: Once things go back to our new normal and people are working as they were before, I think couples who want to keep this newfound closeness going should remember to prioritize time with each other. Simple activities like making meals together, eating together, enjoying walks and conversation are the kinds of things most couples will want to hold onto. Choosing to step away from electronics in the evenings and on the weekends, finding time to connect face-to-face with our significant others, and doing activities together are great ways to keep connected after the quarantine time is over.
We can decide to live in a purposeful place of positivity and kindness. Having an intention and a plan for the day helps keep us focused. Taking some time each morning to be reflective and think about how we want our day to proceed can be very beneficial. This is an opportune time to make your romantic life happier and more fulfilling.