Most married couples spend a considerable amount of time together, but work, errands and personal time usually allow each partner to have a daily break from the other. Because of quarantine orders issued by state health departments, people in many areas of the United States are only allowed to leave home for essential purposes, such as getting groceries, picking up prescriptions or purchasing an item for repairing their home. If you find yourself frustrated with your spouse while in quarantine, here are five tips on how to handle the stress of marital issues.
Take Breaks at Home
When it is not possible to go to the gym or coffee house to get away from your spouse, try to do some social distancing within your home. You do not have to be in the same room 24/7. Work from different rooms. If one of you is a night owl, and the other is an early bird, stagger your work schedules in order to minimize getting in each other’s way. Be sure to schedule some alone time in your day. That might mean an hour alone soaking in the bathtub or spending a few hours sorting through totes of memorabilia in the basement. If you have a patio, balcony or driveway, get outside for some fresh air.
Spend Time on a Productive Project
If you are having a disagreement or a more serious issue with your spouse, limit the amount of time you dwell on it. Once you cannot discuss the issue in a productive way, do something else. Consider spending time doing a productive project together. If you have been meaning to paint the hallway or re-grout the tile in the bathroom, now is a good time to start it. You might discover that you work well together when you have a specific goal in mind. Seeing that you can cooperate and work as a team might give a little boost to working through some of your marital issues.
Consider a Telehealth Therapy Visit
When the going gets tough, the tough talk to a therapist. If you have recently found out that your spouse has cheated on you either emotionally, physically or both, living with each other in quarantine could seem unbearable. Most mental health professionals and doctors are offering telehealth visits. You can even talk to a licensed infidelity therapist for more guidance on your situation. Insurance companies are covering these visits as well. If you were already in counseling alone or with your spouse, continuing the process through video calls or meetings will help you keep moving forward.
Give Yourself and Each Other Grace
Now is not the time to put undue pressure on yourself. You may be worried about friends or family who work in at-risk occupations or have a high-risk health condition. Perhaps you have underlying health conditions, or maybe your spouse does. Cut yourself some slack. You do not have to do everything perfectly or even well right now. Aim for good enough. Try to uplift your partner when possible. That might mean making their favorite meal or doing one of their usual chores. According to Forbes, taking an interest in each other’s day could also help you navigate through marital issues. You might not realize that your spouse is worried about a pay cut or losing a job you thought was secure. Your spouse might not realize that you miss chatting over coffee with your coworkers.
Communicate and Be Honest
While you are in quarantine and have a marital problem, communication is key. Keep the dialogue open. Be willing to hear another point of view. Think about your body language. If you cross your arms and roll your eyes as soon as your spouse opens their mouth, they might not tell you what they needed to say. If something is bothering you, speak up. Letting it linger only contributes to your stress level. Reminisce about the good times together. Plan what you will do when the quarantine is lifted.
Quarantine is stressful for everyone. If you already had marital issues, the added stress may put you both on edge. Remember that the quarantine will not last forever. The new normal will not be the same as it was before the quarantine, but you will gradually be able to return to more activities outside of the house and with your friends and other family members.