Written by: Amanda Levison, M.S., LMHC, LPC, CCBT
"For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part," is the most common phrase used among marriages, but what happens when we face said challenges? Do we hold to our word? What about through a pandemic? While our lives have completely shifted, some face the most significant challenges, do we still stand by our words? One of the most apparent consequences of pandemic is financial issues. Financial issues are enough to tear a marriage apart during regular times. When one or both people in a marriage become laid off or unemployed, it can cause a lot of stress and strain on both partners. Recognizing the financial strain, planning, and being creative can help ease the pressure.
Another issue during quarantine is the lack of personal space that may occur due to everyone being home all the time. With more family members being home throughout the day, there are more messes to clean up, both physically and figuratively. If one partner feels the other is not doing their part, this can cause additional arguments and stress. Effective communication is the key to mitigate the tension and help address individual needs and wants.
Another issue that can arise for marriages during the pandemic is each partner having different views. If one partner wants to adhere to pandemic guidelines and the other does not, this can cause tension and a desire to find different living arrangements to avoid getting sick. Children also strain marriages in everyday situations and may do so even more during the pandemic. The roles of children in the household have shifted during the epidemic, moving from in-person to online learning. There is also a shift in the dynamic of parenting roles with children needing more attention and guidance with school and entertaining them since they are home all day, parents must figure out who will do which part. It may create arguments if one parent feels the other is not doing enough to help with the kids. When things get tough, when you've had enough and are ready to call it quits, how do you stay true to your word?
Make a point of finding alone time. Spending time with your spouse is essential, but it is best to each get some alone time as well. Try making a schedule for each partner to get some time for themselves in a specified area of the house.
Do not be afraid to discuss your feelings. Talking to your partner about how you feel throughout the day can be beneficial for both of you. It does not have to be just your stressors, discuss things that have made you happy or excited as well.
Openly and calmly discuss boundaries regarding the pandemic. Ensuring you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to the epidemic is essential. If you are not on the same page, setting respectful boundaries that each partner is satisfied with will create less stress in the future.
When tensions do flare, make sure each person takes time and space for themselves before talking about the issue. It will allow each person to cool off and sort out their thoughts and feelings.
If children are at home, maintain a routine for them, and set healthy boundaries too. It will create less stress between the children and parents and less stress between each partner.
Being home together during the pandemic can be challenging and can cause strain on the whole family. It is most important to remember that it will not last forever, and the adjustments are temporary. Being flexible and embracing the changes as they come will allow each member of the family to transition from one changing season to the next in the future easily.