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The combination of a stir-crazy-making quarantine with poor communication and lingering resentments percolating under the surface could devastate many marriages.
Home quarantine is hard. Expect negative emotions to bubble up from time to time. If either of you had a rough childhood, anxiety and stress will erupt more than usual. Know this, and plan for it.
Your hunkering down surrounded by an invisible enemy. it’s OK to ask things of each other.
Ask for things of each other because they will improve your sense of security, or curb your anxiety.
Women are socialized to care for others, and men are raised with the “guy code” which teaches them that asking for something is a sign of weakness.
You’re probably both getting antsy and stir-crazy share the feeling and ask for what you need. Be prepared to give and to accept support from your spouse. Step up and ask for what you need specifically with an attitude of positive expectancy.
Unhealthy habits might annoy the daylights out of your partner. They may also take a dim view of your tendency to play Kenny G and watch Perry Mason reruns. Bite your tongues. Roll with each other. Indulge each other with resilience, forbearance, and generosity.
A home quarantine will probably be tough on your marriage. It will be for most couples.
Marriage in the time of COVID-19 will probably hurl thousands of American couples into divorce court.
But these failed marriages will not be couples working hard to have a “good enough” relationship.
These marital failures will consist of couples who believe marriage is an expression of a deeply romantic and emotional bond; a bond whose fragile durability endures only to the extent that both partners are experiencing personal fulfillment and unimpeded growth.
Sheltering in place will require you both to roll up your sleeves and deal with each other in a way that you never have before. personal fulfillment and unimpeded growth may have to take a back seat alongside your inner child.
This global pandemic demands your best selves to show up, and you may both need to defer your personal aspirations.
Meeting with a good couples therapist online can really help.
Many of us will be spending the month of April under one another’s feet, and what happens in May and June remains uncertain.
You will get through this…but chances are you will both be transformed by the experience. Reach out for help now while you’re only occasionally antsy and stir-crazy. You may need new skills. We can help with that.
Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He currently sees couples at Couples Therapy Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, three seasons in Cummington (at the foothills of the Berkshires...) and in Miami during joint retreats with his wife, Dr. Kathy McMahon. He uses EFT, Gottman Method, Solution-focused and the Developmental Model in his approaches.
We schedule three double sessions with you in total. You complete an extensive online relationship questionnaire. In that final meeting, we spend almost two hours with you explaining, from a science perspective what's working in your relationship, what's not, and how to fix it.
It's all done online, either week-by-week or over a weekend.