For some I feel like some marriages have been strengthened by Covid and others, not so much. I am in a networking group with other professionals, and they have shared that in some areas business is booming. Particularly, divorce attorneys and real estate agents.
If you are in the latter part of this group, and your marriage has struggled, this post is for you.
I think one of the most important things you can do in your marriage, during this time, is to foster intentional connection. What does that mean? It mean purposely spending time with your partner in ways that are meaningful. Playing games, taking a swim, talking to each other about more than the kids. Maybe planning a trip for when life feels different. Or taking a low- or no-contact trip together, like camping or a remote cabin.
Being home with your partner for 6 months straight without much social interaction can be crushing. There becomes no real intentional connection. You talk about the kids and sit and watch tv at night, maybe. The opportunities to go out and have fun greatly diminish as well as the ability to connect with your partner.
So what are some other ways to connect? Here are some things I have tried and love.
It is called The Lasting App and it is great for connection. This has foundational courses that allow you to identify areas of need that you can work toward. It pairs you to your partner’s app and you can compare and contrast answers. Lots of “aha” moments for my husband and I while using this app. This is also easy and accessible and it sends you notifications when your partner has new activity and when you haven’t visited recently.
My number one go to relationship referral book is Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman. This book is really good. I always tell clients that it creates a common language where people can learn to talk to each other again. It also talks about the Four Horsemen which are the signs that your relationship is in danger! This book is based on research and has some great exercises that help with communication and connection.
This Netflix Pick
Lastly, I recommend that most of my clients AND couples watch the netflix special Brene Brown’s The Call to Courage. This is about the importance of vulnerability. While it is not always marriage focused she does talk about an incident with her own husband and I think this is really powerful in terms of relationships, how we communicate, and the stories that we tell ourselves about what our partners are thinking and doing. And as long as I am on Brene Brown, everything she does is magic and I am a HUGE fan of her podcast Unlocking Us.
Hope you have found this helpful. Marriage is tough, but marriage in a pandemic is tougher. Hang in there, everyone, and do the hard work. In addition, lots of therapists are doing telehealth at the moment. If you are looking for a therapist, check with your insurance or go on psychologytoday.com and find someone who is a good match for you and your partner.