Let’s face it – fairy tales aren’t real and sometimes love just isn’t enough. This isn’t meant as a slight to relationships and it certainly shouldn’t be seen as demeaning them. It’s just meant to give you a reality check because like everything else in life that is worthwhile, relationships take a great deal of work. This is most true now since we’re forced to spend not just hours together but weeks and months because of the lockdown. As data from Wuhan and elsewhere shows, this forced face-to-face time for an extended period takes a toll on relationships and divorces in the region have more than doubled.
The reason for this present conundrum becomes pretty obvious once you give it a closer look. We’re forced to work together, adjust, and compromise when we spend time together. Unfortunately, many of us have learned to live together by relying on exit strategies such as heading out to the mall, going off with friends, or indulging in solo trips from time to time. With those exits shut off, we are forced to confront our problems and find ways to resolve conflicts, without them devolving into screaming matches.
Here are some simple tips to be a better spouse and to save your relationship from the lockdown:
1. Work on yourself
Irrespective of how you have been living your life all these years, it’s time you started to embrace some self-improvement. Develop a positive outlook on life. Take some time for yourself – study an online course, learn a new language, or take up music or dance. You could also try your hand at a hobby like gardening, knitting, painting, or baking.
The idea is to do something constructive and keep stress or anxiety levels low. Working on yourself will help you calm down and give you a sense of achievement.
While maintaining a physically active lifestyle is challenging during the COVID crisis, exercising daily for at least 30 minutes is the best way to keep your body moving and agile. When you exercise, your body releases a hormone called endorphin, which is known to relax your mind and make you feel better and happy.
3. Share the chores
The number of clashes between couples could easily come down if partners learned to share responsibilities fairly. If the wife takes care of cooking, the husband can do the dishes and vacuum the floor or vice versa. Don’t treat every household task as a chore. Instead, try to view some of them as an opportunity to have fun and spend time together. Put on your favourite music while doing the chores if that helps. You could involve kids in tasks as well by asking them to clear the dining table or even help with the washing. This will also inculcate a sense of responsibility in them.
4. Have different workstations
Couples working from home shouldn’t use the same workspace as this increases the likelihood of conflict. Sitting in separate spaces, ideally in different rooms would help limit your communication and give each other space.
5. Create a shared calendar
Create a calendar for each week and include tasks and responsibilities that you both are going to handle as a team. It would also be great if you could plan what you would be cooking for the week. This makes it easier for both of you to plan and schedule time. Map out all the essential tasks that need to be done so that you feel sorted and in control of the things.
6. Spend time with each other
Being stuck indoors doesn’t mean that your relationship has to be on the rocks. Consider spending some quiet time together or cooking a meal for the family together amidst some fun and laughter. If reading books is something that you both cherish, then take out a book and take turns reading it out to each other.
7. Reduce arguments
Don’t let the frustration of the lockdown ruin your peace of mind and relationship with each other. Avoid conflicts and let bygones be bygones. If conflicts do arise, pause for a while to calm down, and ask your partner to do the same. Then, instead of indulging in personal attacks or rehashing the past, try to come up with an appropriate solution to the problem.
8. Appreciate each other
Understand that your spouse is also struggling to cope with the lockdown and may be overwhelmed with feeling of anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. Listen to your spouse and lend him/her support. Express your gratitude and make it a point to thank each other and regularly show appreciation.
Following these simple steps can make a huge difference to the quality of your relationship and more importantly for now, will help you get through the lockdown amicably!