COVID-19 and effects on marriage redefine the rules of marital engagement for better for worse and in sickness and in health vows; reemphasizing the fact that the goal should be towards a healthy relationship in the long run.
This redefinition of marriage rules is not the same globally, as the effect is dependent on the holistic obedience to pandemic directives such as lockdown, stay at home, work from home, social distancing, etc; societal norms and economic statuses of affected families.
Whether you are in Europe, Asia, America, the Middle East, or Africa, the rules of marital engagement are technically the same, though the application is diverse. Presently, COVID-19 and effects on marriage, surfacing through stress, pressure, loss of jobs, low finances, and a host of other factors, are giving modern-day couples the leverage to either treat and speak to each other horribly or bond and support each other.
So how can couples swim through the tide of COVID-19 and effects on marriage without drowning?
We have identified 6 COVID-19 related problems facing marriage during this pandemic season along with tips to manage positively without the need for separation or divorce.
Resolve Conflict ASAP
Even if your marriage is made in heaven, occasional conflict is an inevitable part of life. But if the conflict becomes regular, it is time to work on how to resolve this toxic nightmare as soon as possible. The following simple realities will reduce anger and help you take a relaxed look at the fundamental issue.
- The ball is in your court. It is your decision whether to respond and how to respond.
- Be realistic. In the middle of an argument, are your comments hurtful or aimed towards a resolution. If you are hurting and playing the blame card, it is best to change to a more positive strategy.
- Change your attitude. If your response continues to bring you pain and sorrow in the past, this is the time to change. For instance, if your attitude is always defensive, you may want to hold off a few seconds. It is amazing how little shift in tempo can change the tone of an argument.
- Apologise. To apologise is simple, but the gain is massive. It is tough to apologise, but something magical always happens after a sincere apology.
Talk more, Communicate more
All relationship problems originate from poor communication skills. You cannot communicate while you are busy doing something else. Facial contact and the ability to listen and understand are important to good communication.
- Make time to talk. Put the cell phones on vibrate, put the kids to bed, and let the answering machine pick up your calls.
- Try to communicate without raising your voice. You don’t want the children to see, or hear, you scream.
- Try not to interrupt until the other is through. Avoid ‘blame’ phrases such as “It is your fault”, “You always or You never…”
- Remember to listen and let your body language mirror that. This means do not roll your eyes, look bored, look sideways, or look at your watch, etc. Nod in affirmative so the other person knows you are getting the message and repeat if necessary.
Sex, No Sex & In -between
For some couples, the mandatory stay at home is a great opportunity for loads of sex and intimacy, but may not be so for others who see it as ‘irritating’ daily intrusion.
- Plan for sex. Sounds robotic. Unusual times require unusual solutions. So, you can plan for sex maybe when the children have gone to bed. Or an early morning quickie, which should put a sparkle in your eyes. Normally when sex is on the menu, it increases your anticipation. You may also think of moving away from the traditional bedroom to spice up sexual enjoyment as well.
- Learning what truly turns your partner on will also help during this highly stressed time when the last thing on your mind is sex.
- Don’t force your partner into having sex with you. Respect and accept. There is always another time.
Work On Money Problems
Money problems may exist but are now compounded by COVID-19 fall-out issues. Experts advise couples who have money problems to take a deep breath and have a serious conversation about finances.
- Do not blame. No one is to blame.
- Be honest about your current financial situation. Adjust your lifestyle to reflect current global economic depression, millions of job losses, and companies shut down.
- If you are both lucky to be working, recognise that this is the time for both to be savers.
- Be realistic about debt. Do not hide debt. This is not the time to incur fresh debt. Bring financial documents, including a recent credit report, pay slips, bank statements, insurance policies, debts, and investments to the table.
- Decide how to pay monthly bills.
- Decide upon short-term and long-term goals. It is alright to have individual goals, but you should have family goals, too.
Avoid Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is physical or emotional abuse that happens between spouses and is likely to escalate during this pandemic.
- Get out of each other’s way when temperament is smoldering.
- Move into a separate room temporarily, until tension subsides.
- Be in tune with each other’s ‘tipping over the edge’ signs and slip away gently.
- Avoid confrontation as much as possible.
- If things get out of hand, call the police. Police work is part of essential services.
- Calm, support, communicate and assure.
Agree On Home Chores
Nowadays, most partners work from home so it is important to assist one another on home chores. Equitable division of labour at home works better in some societies than others. Whatever your situation, the strategies will help ensure satisfaction
- Ensure clarity about your respective chores in the home. Write all the chores down and agree on who does what. Be fair.
- Consider other solutions. If one of you likes housework, the other partner can do the gardening and the yard. Be creative. Be fair.
- Include the children in the division of labour.
Marriage is strange but beautiful, with hard times and hard lessons being learned during COVID-19, and its nightmarish experience, which perhaps no one ever prepared you for. COVID-19 and effects on marriage have redefined the rules of marriage in more positive ways than negative. There is more spousal bonding, appreciation of each other, not taking each other for granted, the reality about finances, thankfulness for life, etc. In the end, present-day challenges give worthiness to your marriage and will ensure your love remains deep and strong after COVID-19.
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