From the moment the coronavirus started seeping across the globe, our modern life as we knew it had begun change. So many things have shifted from travel bands, stock market free falling, to social distancing measures being put in place. No one knows exactly how bad this is going to get or for how long. Everyone would like it to stop, but it looks like we’re going to have to buckle down for a while and accept this is our new norm. Even when the virus has stopped spreading, going back to life as we knew it will not happen. The entire world has been traumatized, and many financial blows will trickle down to impact all of us.
But Does This Virus Have to Stop Love?
By implementing social isolation measures, all of a sudden many Americans are forced to work from home, have children home, and most of our entertainment is shut down, too. Staying at home most of the time is the only real option for many of us, but this fact doesn’t have to stop love.
Okay, let’s get practical. For many Americans, the idea of having our freedoms limited is shocking, to say the least. I had ancestors aboard the Mayflower to flee being told what to do. My ancestors traveled and wandered all over this land of ours, and now I am being told to stay in my house with my children and husband for who knows how long???
I doubt I’m the only one that had a little twinge of fear. After we realized that we were going to be confined to home more, I looked at my husband and asked, “Are we going to be okay with this?”
He shrugged. I curled up in his arms, and we snuggled.
I knew, and he knew that if we became quarantined, and no one was sick, he would be spending his time in the garage. We also knew that I have several places in the house where I like to hide and write, and our girls would find Netflix’s and imagination to keep entertained.
So, we knew that we’d be fine.
Enhancing Increased Family Time for Quiet Bonding Moments
After a while, as we realized we were going to be home more, I suggested that we go out of the house together for walks to break up the monotony. I also suggested we do other things as a family during this time.
My husband shrugged but then climbed out of bed to go on the neighborhood walk. As it turned out, the gentle sun was nice to just be in. Our girls requested that we eat dinner together, which was a good idea that we should have been doing more often anyways. I put in the stipulation that if my husband wanted to eat, he would help me in the kitchen when it came time to cooking dinner. I’m all about team effort.
On the first night, he asked, “What are we cooking?”
I don’t like being told what to do by following a recipe either, so I just made up the dinner as we went along throwing whatever I found in the fridge into the frying pan.
It turned out not bad. All my family seemed shocked that they liked it. I wasn’t sure how to take it. I mean, I do cook occasionally. The family seemed to be in high spirits from home-cooked meals, the fresh air, the quiet time to focus on play, and work. I, well, am accepting the fact that I am going to be cooking more and hoping that the food will last for however long it needs to.
We seem to be handling the crises by bonding in the trauma. I am lucky. I have a man who is stepping up as a partner and helping us prepare for the unknown. He has even agreed to apply this wonderful water hose to our toilets if our limited supply of toilet paper runs out. (Oh, please, let’s hope it doesn’t become that bleak, but I am glad to have a man who will help me through whatever is in store.)
Social Isolation Increasing Family Connection and Impacts Love
I have worked with many baby boomer clients over the years who struggled when their significant other decides to retire. The issue is their spouse is home for most of the day every day. That can be a real strain on the couple. This forced together time is a test on love.
I predict that this virus is not only threatening to people’s health and lives but also to the status of their romantic connections. I don’t want to play down the real challenge this will have, especially if couples are having trouble. There is a reason why January is the number one month people file for divorce—couples being stuck together through the cultural pressures of the holidays can be a volatile time.
So, How Does a Person in a Committed Relationship Survive the Social Isolation and Forced Family Closeness?
Having been divorced twice, I fully realize that some relationships just can’t be saved. If you are married to anabusive spouse like I was I am not sure it should be saved. I consider one of the best choices I ever made in my life was to flee an extremely physically abusive man. It was the best thing for me, for our children, and I think he’d even agree, it was the best thing for him. He learned a lot from me leaving, including how to control his temper and that he couldn’t treat a person badly, and expect them to stay with him. This set him off to improve his skills for our children’s sake. I hope he is successful.
Increasing the Hugs
With that disclaimer out there, there are things you can do to safeguard your love with your partner. One of the things that work for me is to have snuggle time. There is a ton of research on the effects of touch and how human contact decreases stress. Even though we are decreasing our contact with the world, it doesn’t mean that we can’t increase our contact with the people we live with as long as they aren’t sneezing and coughing.
The Power of Romantic Movies
According to the divorce attorneys Wilkinson and Finkbeiner, they examined over one hundred and fifteen studies focused on divorce in America in 2018. The attorneys compiled a list of facts. They claim “in a study the University of Rochester … that watching romantic movies and having a conversation around it helps in lowering the divorce rates from 24 to 11 percent.”
That means watching romance is good for couples, but it can also help secure your relationships. I am sure that there is some benefits that can also be found from reading romances, too.
A Simple Vaccine to Protect Your Romance
Dr. John Gottman is the king of relationships. For decades, he has been able to predict the likelihood of people ending up in divorce within 93% accuracy. He has done this through his research by identifying certain elements in a relationship that strengthens the connections and other behaviors that weaken it.
One of the practices he recommends for a couple to do is to complement each other daily. This let’s the other partner know what their spouse appreciates about them, which can be an important boost. In addition, it makes the giver remember what they like about their partner.
The sad truth is nobody is perfect. If a person focuses too much on what isn’t working, or the qualities they don’t like about the other, that wears on the relationship and can have a devastating long-term effect.
The vaccine to keep your relationship strong is to give one sincere compliment to your partner daily. It is not foolproof but it certainly can give the relationship much-needed vitamin C.
Listening Ear through Trouble Times
The COVID19 and the effects it has on the world is profound. If you are finding yourself struggling or want to explore how to navigate the uncertainty, feel free to schedule a complimentary call. I have been coaching for over nineteen years and love to support people to create their best life possible.
“Divorce Statistics and Facts: What Affects Divorce Rates in the U.S.?” Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP, www.wf-lawyers.com/divorce-statistics-and-facts/