The Great Pandemic Pause was a significant reset on many levels. Now that restrictions are lifting, most of us are eager to get back to “normal.”
Understandable, but not so fast. As Churchill once advised:
Never let a good crisis go to waste.
Sure, plenty of people are exploring different jobs or careers and, as Brian recently pointed out, embracing new beginnings. But that doesn’t necessarily take into account that living in lockdown has led to another brewing crisis: a rise in gray divorces.
In your haste to rekindle outward-facing passions, remember to stoke the home fires to buck the break-up trend. Now’s the perfect time to reflect on the last 16 months and set a course for a happier, more harmonious future with your mate.
While it’s always easy to take your loved ones for granted, being homebound for so long has likely taken a toll on your marriage. As clinical psychologist Bryce Doehne points out:
During this time, couples may have been spending about as much time with each other as would normally be stretched across a two to three year period. And they’ve had to occupy multiple roles that would have been previously filled by others, like friends, which is impossible.
That’s an understatement. Even Lloyd Dobler would’ve dropped his boombox for a gander at anyone else’s eyes after months in pandemic-induced captivity.
Luckily, there’s an effective antidote to the sick-of-you blues: a relationship reset.
Begin by having a review session with your spouse about what went down during quarantine. According to experts, an honest discussion about what worked — and what didn’t — is a great starting point.
Now that we’re free to go and do as we please, make the most of it. Enjoying some of your renewed freedom apart is an excellent (albeit counterintuitive) way to help you stay married. And put having fun together on the schedule, too, from going to parties to taking trips and having sex. After all, making time for intimacy is self-care you can share.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, let your partner know how much you appreciate them. According to an almost 30-year study on marriage and divorce conducted by social psychologist Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., a lack of kindness and thoughtfulness is a top “overlooked relationship-killer.”
So, Dr. Orbuch recommends the liberal use of “affective affirmation” to stay connected and content. Keep in mind that everyone’s love language is different, so knowing what resonates — be it words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, or receiving gifts — is vital.
With the waning of the pandemic, rediscovery is on the rise. Use that renewed sense of excitement as a spark to reignite your relationship.
7 Ways to Reset Your Relationship (New York Times)