Are you under a shelter in place order that’s causing you marriage problems?
There’s a popular meme going around where a man is asked if he would rather be quarantined with A) his wife and kids, or B). What’s B? We never learn because the man chooses it — definitively — before the questioner even gets to finish his sentence.
While the meme is meant as a joke, there’s a clear kernel of truth to it. Sometimes, the people who get on our nerves the most in stressful situations are those we love.
Well, few things are more stressful than being trapped together in an enclosed space for long periods. Especially while huge aspects of your life change around you and the possibility of infection looms over everything.
It’s easy to get on each other’s nerves when you can’t leave your house. And if you don’t plan well, it can wreak havoc on your relationship.
Luckily, we have some marriage help in the form of tips to ease the tension.
Make a Schedule
This is particularly important if you have kids at home as well. Or if both of you are telecommuting to work.
Creating a schedule together allows you to define who’s doing what and when. And that can stave off the inevitable arguments.
Moreover, it makes it easier to be fair when allotting time. And if there’s ever a time when you’re feeling lost and unsure what to do, a schedule can help you get back on track.
Set Ground Rules
Bath time is your time where no one can come in. If the headphones are on and the laptop is open, you’re not available for questions about where the pasta sauce is. Your morning job is sacred. So is his afternoon walk.
Both of you need to be clear on the times and activities you need “protected” most. And be willing to find compromises if they conflict.
Many couples are literally dividing up the space for specific activities.
Maybe one of you gets the home office during working hours, and the other gets the basement. Or you set up chairs and computers in opposing corners, and each claim one.
Regardless, the point is when you’re in a particular zone, you’re not to be bothered.
In some cases, people are even creating rules that they’re the only one allowed in a particular zone to make it feel more like their “real” office.
Employ Headphones When Necessary
Even if you agree on ground rules, make a schedule, and define zones, there’ll be times when what you’re doing conflicts with your partner — and vice versa.
While there’s no perfect solution, headphones can be a huge help when her fitness instructor’s livestream happens in the middle of your workday. Or the NPR you just have to listen to while cooking interrupts a client call.
When all else fails, remind yourself of the fact that this too shall pass eventually. The most important thing is to keep safe until it does.
Still struggling? Norene Gonsiewsk and Tim Higdon can help with all kinds of marriage problems — just get in touch!