Since COVID-19 and stay at home orders started, your life and your relationship probably changed in many dramatic ways; some changes are for the better and well, some changes might have not been beneficial to your relationship. After quarantine, many couples are wondering how to nurture and continue their closeness when they return to their office all day.
We Feel Closer Now Than Ever Before
People are enjoying that they can stay up and wake later than normally and relax in sweats and slippers most of the day. As a couple, you can see your partner from the minute you wake up in the morning until you go to bed at night or certainly, much more often than before the quarantine. In the past, you may have never seen each other for breakfast or lunch, but now you eat all, if not most, of your meals together. These opportunities to spend day and night together with your loved one are opportunities to perform acts of love-showing your partner you care and want to make time for him/her.
Back to Life Back to Reality or Is it?
The time is approaching that you will be leaving your home and starting your daily routine again. You may return to waking up early and getting home late due to your commute to work. Now, you may return to eating your meals alone, sitting at your desk while you work. In addition, you may need to juggle children at daycare, summer programs or school with your work schedule.
United Couples Will Make These Considerations
Now, is the time before returning to “normal life” that we think about and ponder, “What did I learn?”; “How do I want life to be different?”; and “What am I going to do about it?”. I’m not suggesting that you quit working and go on vacation for the next year with your partner, but I am suggesting that you may want to consider how your life has changed for the better or what changes you will sustain.
You can shift your focus from counting the days “stuck” in your home, and consider how to make the days count as you leave your home and reenter “life”. As you move forward, here are some examples of actions you may want to implement to strengthen your relationship:
- If you enjoyed sharing meal time together, then during the day, can you FaceTime with your partner and eat lunch together or share a coffee date mid-morning? If so, you can allocate 5 minutes or 30 minutes of time as an opportunity to connect with your partner.
- If you enjoyed taking walks together during your time at home, can you plan to wake up early or in the evening and walk together?
- In the evening, if you played board games, shared a funny meme or put together a puzzle, how can you find 15-30 minutes each night to put down your phones and have some fun?
- While you were home you could talk throughout the day, so now, can you send an emoji, quick text or iMessage to each other, saying, “I’m thinking of you?
- If on the weekends you spent less time on chores and errands and more time on gardening, hiking and home projects, then can you commit to those activities on a few hours over the weekend or once a month?
- Think about what other ways you created closeness and connection during COVID and ask each other how you can implement or complete those activities when you go back to the office.
Post COVID and Your Relationship
If you already felt connected before COVID, then you can consider what else you can or want to do to show your partner that you care, he/she is important to you and express your love and appreciation. Personally, I don’t want this opportunity to end without thinking about what I can learn and how I can change something to be closer to my husband. Therefore, I suggest you decide with your partner one new action that you were not performing before this pandemic started and you will take the time to implement in your relationship. Since it’s easy to fall back into old habits and patterns, I recommend you put a reminder on your calendar, and in six months, check-in with your partner to ensure you are still keeping the commitment you made to grow closer together. As you make the days count, your relationship can blossom.
Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC, is a Certified Gottman Therapist in Baltimore, MD. She helps couples on the brink of breakup to repair unresolved issues, increase their intimacy, and navigate the future. If your relationship is in crisis, reach out to Lisa Today.