Couples are spending more time together during the pandemic than under normal circumstances (whatever “normal” even means these days). Not only are couples increasing time spent together in shared (frequently small) spaces, but there aren’t dinner parties, get-togethers, group outings etc, to provide some different perspective, outlook and buffer, that is so frequently needed for relief and connection. Here are a few ideas to help decrease any tension that might exist between a couple (or even a family):
Party of 3
While spending extended amounts of time can be valuable, even the greatest of things can get tiring and frustrating. Disrupt the cyclical nature of this dynamic. Talk to somebody about it…rather than only each other. Whether it be a therapist, counselor, religious leader or community member/peer, having somebody with a fresh and unbiased perspective can sometimes offer new ways of coping and communicating.
When conflict ensues between a couple, the frequent reaction is to turn-away from one other, grow quiet and walk in separate directions. While that might feel safe immediately, it doesn’t do anything to rectify the dynamic in the relationship. State your needs, be aware of bids for connection and respond to them. The small moments of everyday life are actually the building blocks of relationship.
Nothing needs to be “solved” right now…or maybe ever. We say “manage” conflict rather than “resolve” conflict, because relationship conflict is natural and has functional, positive aspects. There is a critical difference in handling perpetual problems and solvable problems.
Fondness and Admiration is the antidote for contempt. Focus on the amount of affection and respect within a relationship to strengthen fondness and admiration. Cherish your partner’s positive qualities and nurturing gratitude by comparing the partner favorably with real or imagined others, rather than trashing the partner by magnifying negative qualities and nurturing elements of resentment.