The coronavirus has truly shifted the way the world operates. For many people, it is an incredibly stressful time. For others, it has been a time of peaceful solitude at home. However, as some couples are forced to spend more time together, many couples will admit that the health crisis has simultaneously forced them to take a deeper look at their relationship. As this close evaluation has the potential to lead to divorce, it is important to recognize the positive traits and find common ground. By doing these activities, couples can actively strengthen their relationships during COVID.
1. Date Night
Sure, date night might not look how it used to. Dining in at restaurants is probably not the safest idea. However, you can still get creative. Consider ordering your favorite food from your favorite local restaurant. Leave a great tip. This still allows you two to support your local businesses while remaining socially distant. Then, pack a blanket, some candles and some cushions. Head to a local park to enjoy an evening picnic. Put away your phones. Enjoy your food, sweet conversations and each other. If certain topics need to remain off-limits (politics, pandemic, money), do it for the sanctity of those precious moments.
2. Alone Time
If you are spending every waking moment with your partner, you two will suffocate each other. There’s a saying that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Even if you live in a one bedroom apartment, take time where one partner spends the day recharging and reconnecting with themselves in the bedroom while the other does the same thing in the living room. This might binge-watching television shows, talking with friends on the phone or reading a good book. However, time alone is paramount to mental health and makes couples excited to come back to each other.
Even though communication might seem like an obvious way to strengthen a relationship, it’s not always easy to do. Through therapy and educational resources (books, podcasts, etc.), learn how to speak to each other. Learn to express love in the love language of your partner. Be mindful of the way you speak to your partner. Consider body language and tone. Remember to decipher whether it’s a good time or not. Even with all of those considerations, don’t avoid conversations or make assumptions. When you two are extremely clear with one another, it’ll be easier to remain on the same page as a strong unit.
When you encounter certain changes in your body that might signify a health issue, it is important to communicate with your partner so that you can come up with solutions together. Another example is asking your partner to help you perform dilator therapy. This is often recommended by physical therapists to alleviate pelvic floor and sexual health issues. Using the right silicone vaginal dilators helps ease pelvic muscle tension and other problems that may contribute to pain or discomfort during sex. However, it’s important that you use the tool well for it to be effective, even if it means enlisting your partner’s help.
Even the healthiest relationships benefit from counseling. Counseling is important because it creates a safe space for couples to work through any concerns, issues or challenging conversations they’d like to have. A good therapist is able to facilitate a space where both people are heard, understood and validated. It’s also helpful because couples are able to leave with the tools that help them be better partners to each other. If you are in a same-sex partnership, be sure to find a therapist who specializes in how to navigate LGBT couples counseling. The experiences for same-sex couples are layered in unique ways. When you can have a therapist who specifically specializes in navigating how those layers impact the health of your relationship, this can be incredibly beneficial.
There are times in life when a partnership needs to be renegotiated. What worked when a couple first met will not work when they’re 20 years into the relationship. Various challenges can force a couple to realize their need for a shift. When this happens, sit down as a couple to talk about when it’s time to renegotiate. It doesn’t always have to relate to hard issues like money or politics. Oftentimes, the simple things that go undiscussed become the larger issues. One partner might realize that they don’t enjoy spending as much time in the kitchen. The other partner might realize that an online tutor is necessary for the children. As you two renegotiate, it’s also giving each other the permission to evolve.
Will these activities be fun at all times? No. Sometimes, you and your partner will need to go deeper in tough conversations. Be encouraged by this. When the roots of a tree go deep, the stronger and more resilient a tree actually is. Through crisis and hard times, it’s actually possible to strengthen the bond and emerge as unbreakable partners.