Marriage therapist and life coach, Brittany Stewart M.A., LMFT-C, shares three therapy myths and the truth behind what everyone deserves – happiness and support. Read this week’s blog to learn more about how you can invest in yourself.
Keys To A Successful Marriage During Quarantine
Connecting with your partner
In a time of rampant uncertainty, it is reasonable to experience anxiety and fear, as so many around the world are. As an online therapist and marriage counselor, many of my clients are experiencing new challenges and growth opportunities in their partnerships. Today I am sharing my top three keys to a successful marriage during quarantine.
Couples around the globe are worried about their financial security, meeting basic needs, taking care of loved ones, and protecting the health of their families, themselves, and their communities.
We are inundated with news of an ever-escalating public health crisis, which can severely disrupt our ability to be present and to feel grounded. Many couples and families are finding themselves together at home more now than ever before. This can be quite tough to navigate as partners are working from home and tending to children who are now without their usual forms of childcare and school.
Needless to say, we are all facing an increasing amount of stressors, which can lead to increased disconnect and conflict for couples during this time in close quarters. However, if we look for them and actively cultivate them, there are opportunities for increased connection and intimacy through these trying times.
The keys to a successful marriage during quarantine will open up new dialogue and growth opportunities between you and your partner.
Create And Maintain Rituals Of Connection
Daily routines and structures have now been interrupted, but that doesn’t mean we can’t create new supportive structures and connection in our daily lives.
Without long daily commutes and shuffling kids to activities you might find that you now have more time at home. The reason I most often hear from couples as to why they have limited connection is simply, time.
“We just don’t have enough time in the day to connect with each other in the way we’d like.”
In this moment we have, in many cases, been given the gift of time. Time to slow down, time to talk to each other, time to connect. So why not create a new routine for your days, one focused exclusively on connecting with each other.
A ritual of connection is something we can easily create that doesn’t require money or leaving the house. I encourage couples to create a ritual of connection that they can engage in daily. It can take five minutes, or an hour. There can be plenty of flexibility in creating rituals. I’ve listed some possible rituals you might try below.
- Have your morning or coffee together and share your hopes for the day
- Take a break in your day and go for a walk outside (of course while still practicing social distancing with others)
- Have lunch together
- Start and end your day with a slow kiss and warm embrace
- Check in about your day by asking each other for a high and low point of the day
- Share gratitude with each other
Make Space For All Emotions
Inevitably we all handle stress, anxiety, and fear differently- and that’s okay!
When we notice our partner is worried or overwhelmed, it can be easy to launch into solution mode. This isn’t always necessary or helpful though. Instead, when you notice that your partner is worried or overwhelmed, you might tell them that whatever they are feeling is okay and makes sense.
Ask them what they are feeling and thinking and ask how you can support them. Ask how they prefer to be comforted when they are feeling the emotions they express, and if you are able, move to comfort them in that way.
Some people might need a warm embrace while others might need to do something to regulate and practice self-care like meditate or engage in some form of movement. Inevitably, it’s likely that your partner could benefit from hearing that you are there with them and that they are not alone in this.
Try to validate your partner as much as possible, and if you find yourself having a hard time understanding what is happening for them, be curious! Ask them to tell you more about what this is like for them. Avoid telling them that they are overreacting or that their emotions are wrong as this can lead to disconnect and conflict.
In a time when stress and anxieties are elevated and people have very real worries, it can be helpful to make space for gratitude where possible.
Try to spend 5 minutes with each other each day to share what you are grateful for in your relationship. Perhaps you’re grateful for having more time for rituals of connection, or time to play in the yard with your kids as a family.
Share gratitude for your bond that gives you the strength to be resilient during hard times and hope for the future. Share gratitude for the qualities in your partner that help keep you grounded, like their sense of humor or kindness for the community you live in.
Remind yourselves of the bond you share and ground yourselves in these truths during this time.
My hope for you and your partner is that as you implement these three keys to a successful marriage during quarantine you will cultivate greater connection and a stronger bond between the two of you.
Here’s to you and your partner surviving quarantine together!
Brittany Stewart, M.A., LMFT-C
How are you turning toward your partner during this time? Do you have a favorite ritual you like to engage in with your partner? Leave it in the comments for others to get inspired!
Brittany Stewart, M.A., LMFT-C is an online couples counselor, individual therapist, premarital counselor, and a life and relationship coach. She works with her clients to build connected relationships, restore emotional bonds, and grow in their capacity to love others as well as themselves.