When it comes to dealing with issues and problems in a marriage or relationship, most people choose to ignore the elephant in the room and just carry on, focusing instead on their lives as individuals.
If it feels like you’ve been socially distancing from your partner long before Covid-19 entered our lives, it may be a passive decision simply taken to avoid what’s actually going on in the relationship. But with everyone being asked to stay at home now, many are finding that their individual life — their refuge from a relationship they didn’t want to address — is no longer available as an escape. All of a sudden, you are forced to act and deal with a situation that has been put on hold for a while. Circumstances have brought you together unexpectedly, and the elephant is now standing in the center of the room.
If you’re stuck at home with a partner that you haven’t connected with in a while, things can get tough. It’s definitely going to take some getting used to — and a whole lot of work — but this can be good news. Indeed, now is the time to face those fears and start working on that connection again. With avoidance no longer being an option, there’s nothing left to do but to deal with things.
If your intention is to save your relationship (this is key), hold on to that desire and commit to doing your part of the work, taking on this “relationship challenge” without judging your partner for not holding up their end.
Relationships go through phases — please remember that. Just as life is governed by the law of duality and polarity, every aspect of it is created from a balanced interaction of opposing forces that complete each other. Ups and downs are only normal, the good doesn’t exist without the bad, and light cannot be without darkness. However, it’s up to you to dig deep and find the missing part of the equation.
Here are a few steps to follow to help you reconnect with your partner while you’re both spending more time at home.
Fall in love with yourself.
You can’t fully fall in love with someone if you are not in love with yourself first. It’s time to find your own balance and start working on your mental and physical wellbeing before turning your attention to your partner or to the relationship.
Reminisce about the good old days.
Take a trip down memory lane and find out how and why you fell in love with your partner in the first place. Look at old pictures and think about the first dates, first holidays, and the first time you decided you were going to be spending the rest of your lives together.
Stop criticizing and start accepting.
You can never survive a relationship if you are constantly being judged and criticized. If you find it difficult to stop criticizing your partner completely, try to consciously limit it and make an effort to offer more compliments. Always remember that the only thing you can change and control is yourself, so if you want to see a change in your partner’s behavior, either lead by example or simply verbalize it calmly, clearly, and constructively.
Learn each other’s love language.
You don’t need to be speaking the same love language to make the relationship work. What’s important is that you both understand each other’s love language and use it to address each other, without assuming that whatever makes you happy makes your partner happy too. For instance, your love language might be acts of service, so you will feel your partner’s love when he does the cooking and the dishes or takes out the garbage. However, he won’t feel your love when you offer these same services if his love language is, for instance, physical touch.
If you don’t use it, you lose it.
This one is self-explanatory, really! The more you grow apart, the longer and harder the way back is. You do know the way back to intimacy, you’re familiar with the destination, you have been there before, but you might just feel a tad too lazy to hop back on. You’re so used to being far away that it started being comfortable. Your comfort zone might just be an illusion, an excuse you use, because you lack the energy and motivation to work towards something better. Be clear about your goals and your desired destination.
Fake it till you make it.
When love and intimacy have faded in a relationship, it is the couple’s responsibility to bring them back. Hug your partner, even if you don’t really feel like it, to boost your levels of oxytocin, a hormone that increases the feeling of bonding. Also, hold your partner’s hand when you’re both sitting on the sofa watching Netflix or browsing on your phones. Lean over and get used to being physically close again.
Change your vision angle.
Get to know your partner from a different angle. Try to see what others see in them, why others love them. What is it that you don’t see anymore?
Give yourself and your partner space.
If you find that the lockdown and being at home together all day is causing you to fight all the time, give yourself some personal space by retreating to another room or even suggesting that you both take some time to sit and explore your feelings individually.
It’s not all about the kids.
Do remember that you have other things in common besides your kids. Indeed, they are not the only thing that unites a couple. First there was you (as a couple), and then they came along.
Joyce Youhanna D’Ubaldo is a certified life coach living in Dubai. Contact her, here.