Being stuck at home 24/7 in a pandemic with your partner or significant other may seem like an exciting prospect at first, but the truth is that reality doesn’t often line up with many of our hopes. One of the points of argument couples have during this unique circumstance is whether to physically distance from other people, and a lot of couples reported finding themselves arguing more about money, health, safety, and for those with children, how to help the kids make the best of distance learning.
If we want our relationship to survive, we can’t use the same tactics we used pre-COVID-19, because our current circumstances are new and unique, and they also demand new strategies and ways of coping. While some of these hacks are nothing new, they do require more proactive enforcement and so much more effort than ever before. Here are some relationship-saving hacks for couples who want to keep their relationship healthy—and sane—during this quarantine.
Get some alone time, schedule regular dates
Even before the pandemic hit, it was already a healthy practice for couples who live together to intentionally spend time apart. Experts say that marriages and domestic partnerships benefit when both parties have the time to themselves, either to relax or to pursue individual hobbies and interests. Now more than ever, this is a practice that couples would greatly benefit from to help save their sanity and sense of individuality.
Create a schedule where you and your partner don’t need to be together 24/7. If you share an office, try to schedule your shifts so that you’re not working together at the same time, if it’s possible. If not, set Saturday or Sunday as your personal alone time, where one of you could stay in the bedroom reading, while the other could watch Netflix in the living room. If one of you has an anxious attachment style, make sure to remind each other that wanting solo time is nothing personal; it just means that you both have individual needs that can only be met by spending some time alone.
But at the same time, you also need to be intentional about spending time together because falling in love is one thing—staying in love is another. Maintaining a relationship also takes a lot of work, so schedule regular at-home dates with no responsibility or task on the agenda. No talking about chores, work, or the bills—just you and your partner enjoying each other’s presence.
Decide on a bedroom situation that works for both of you
And when I say bedroom, I mean your sleeping conditions. Here are some bedroom tricks you and your spouse or partner may want to consider:
- Get two separate blankets. This option allows both of you to bypass the common disruptions of sleeping in a bed with another person, one of the most obvious being fighting over the blanket, especially during the coming winter months.
- Sleep plays a vital part in a person’s well-being. You and your spouse can justify investing in a good night’s sleep. Get beds with features like a dual zone comfort system, which can give you the option of adjusting your bed’s temperature depending on your preferences. One side can be cool while the other side is warm, and you can also set it to the same temperature. It’s at least one point of argument out of the way—you no longer have to fight over how hot or cold you want your room to be. It can be other features that can help, depending on what will make your rest periods more effective. Studies have shown that sleep quality can affect a marriage.
Communicate needs, set expectations, and be responsive
If you’ve ever been a roommate, then you know that it takes two people being adults to make the household function as well as it could. The same is true for couples. Your partner is not a mind-reader; you can’t expect them to throw out the trash or wash the dishes if you don’t ask for it. So communicate your need, and do it kindly—without nagging. If you need more physical affection from them, communicate it as well. And when you’re on the receiving end of a need being communicated, respond well. Fight the urge to be defensive. Let them know you’re listening and that you will do your best to meet their need. Being able to talk it out like adults will go a long way in building trust and confidence in each other.
If you think your partner and your relationship is worth the fight, then don’t give up. Do all that you can in your power to keep the relationship or the marriage as healthy as possible. You and your partner both deserve to be in a happy and loving relationship, especially during a hard time like the COVID-19 crisis.