Let’s be real–quarantine is hard! Life in lockdown can be an amazing time to connect and spend time with your family, but it can also mean adjusting to a new lifestyle, financial struggles, and all sorts of things that can put stress on your relationship. I feel like everyone is talking about the difficulties of relationships in quarantine and, believe me, I totally understand. I was in an abusive relationship when I first came to the U.S. and I can’t even imagine being in lockdown with my ex-husband. But now I am in such an amazing place that makes me feel so lucky to be with my husband, so I want to share my best advice for keeping your love alive in quarantine.
YOU’RE IN THIS TOGETHER
In the beginning of quarantine I was a bit worried about being in the same place with everyone 24/7 but it’s been a great test for Jason and I, and we really haven’t argued. Well, there was that one time I got upset over eggs that were too runny, but we can’t be perfect 100% of the time! 😉 The trick is to not let those little tiny things become big ones that make problems in your relationship. You and your partner have to remember that you’re in this together, and communicate to resolve anything that comes up.
KEEP DATE NIGHT GOING
One of my favorite tips in my original Golden Rules of Marriage blog post is date night! I think it’s so important to spend special time together so that you can keep the spark alive from when you first met. Obviously we can’t go out on dates anymore, so during the pandemic we’ve switched to having movie nights! We do them three or four times a week and we love to make them extra fun by treating ourselves with special popcorn. Jason is a serious foodie so he makes it with truffles, cheese, and all sorts of different interesting spices which is just so fun and feels like bringing a theater experience to your own home.
Dinner is an essential meal of the day, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to carve out time and create a family bonding experience. We’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen (everyone knows that Jason loves cooking and is amazing at it) and we’ve been making it a family activity too. We like to get the kids involved in making dinner and helping with cooking because it’s fun for them and helps them learn something new, and do something together as a family.
In addition to cooking delicious meals together, one thing we’ve started doing at family dinners is gratitudes. This is something I picked up during my Costa Rica retreat, and it’s something that’s so nice to pass down to my kids. We go around the table and have each person share something that they’re grateful for. It could be anything from food to vacation to little things like toys or big things like family and time together. Every single night it’s different and it’s really interesting and amazing to see how the kids have come to really love and enjoy it.
DISCOVER NEW ACTIVITIES
In addition to getting creative with date night, you can get creative with family activities! It’s hard having everyone in the same space all the time, so it’s important to think of new ways to get out while still maintaining social distancing and keeping everyone safe. One thing we’ve started doing this quarantine is going and feeding birds in nature. It’s something fun to do and the whole family has just fallen in love with this activity. It’s an activity that’s probably going to stay with us after quarantine as well, which makes it all the more special.
FIND YOUR NEW BALANCE
Not gonna lie here, quarantine has been a HUGE shift for me. Jason is working from home now, so he works most of the day, but when he’s finished we keep the nights as the time we all spend together. My work has totally changed too. Since Jason is working full time from home, he’s taken over the office, so I’ve been learning to adapt with where I work and discovering new spaces in the apartment. I’m also lucky to be in a position where I can afford to slow down a bit and not see clients, so I’ve shifted to a balance of still keeping up with work, but also making a lot more time for my kids and family.
You’ve definitely heard this one before, but I can’t say it enough. There’s a lot of frustrations happening now between couples because of the economy (there’s nothing more that brings stress to relationships), and I know what that’s like. Jason and I both really started from scratch so we’ve had our moments, but over the years we’ve learned to deal with things in a way that helps us work as a team. Having open communication is absolutely necessary. To me, this means not holding things back and being honest about everything: from when you’re having a problem, to making sure you always say “I love you” and appreciate each other. But it also means letting things go. You’re both human so you’re both going to make mistakes, and while it’s important to make sure you talk through problems, it’s also important to make sure you don’t take your stresses out on the other person. It’s all about finding that balance.
And that’s it! I feel like for me, this quarantine has been a test of how I can adapt to new things and find balance, but it’s made me a way better wife and mother. It made me slow down, which meant I finally had the time to spend all my time with my family, and really invest into my relationships with my husband and kids. It’s helped me to understand what’s the most important in life. Honestly, the connection we’ve started developing with each other during this pandemic is just really beautiful and magical, and I wish the same for all of you.