Since states across the country began implementing stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), articles have popped up everywhere predicting that the divorce rate will inevitably rise. While this may prove to be true, a number of relationship experts are discussing ways that married couples can cope with their current situation. Who knows? Maybe sharing close quarters may ultimately strengthen the marriages of some couples. If you are currently frustrated with being around your spouse all the time, here are some simple suggestions for reducing marital conflict during this unprecedented moment in time.
Tip #1: Carve Out Alone Time
Couples and families are now finding themselves around each other nearly every moment of every day. Instead of going to school, work, the gym, or happy hour with friends, all household members are suddenly sharing a relatively small space together all day, every day. Even the closest of friends can find themselves becoming irritated and short with each other after too much “quality time,” so it’s essential that you both take some time to seek out some alone time every day in some way. Whether it’s taking a ten-minute walk with your dog, preparing a meal while your other family members play in the yard, or meditating on your own before you get ready for bed, a few minutes on your own go a long way towards helping you feel centered and less bothered by your partner.
Tip #2: Create Clear Boundaries
Now that you and your spouse are pretty much stuck in your house for the foreseeable future, you may be juggling working from home with household chores, which can be exhausting. That’s why creating clear boundaries can help to give you both some structure and space throughout the day. Make sure to tell your partner that your working space will be in the dining room (or another semi-private area), and that you’ll be unavailable during certain hours. When you’ve completed some of your work tasks, try to disconnect fully and engage with your family. By making concerted efforts to distinguish between “working you” and “family you,” it’s likely that you and your spouse will encounter fewer arguments because the boundaries have been established.
Tip #3: Set Ground Rules for Arguments
Of course, these intense shelter-in-place orders are naturally going to lead to arguments. However, you won’t be able to drive off to your friend’s house when you’ve had a fight with your spouse. Instead, you’ll still be under the same roof, so it’s important to discuss some strategies with your spouse for how you’ll handle arguments that arise over the next few weeks and months. Perhaps you want to agree that anyone can choose to “pause” the argument at any time so that you can both cool off a bit, or maybe you think it’s best for both spouses to write down their thoughts during an argument to keep tensions from reaching a boiling point. By taking some time now to agree to some ground rules, you and your spouse may find it easier to diffuse and resolve your disagreements in the future.
Although marital disputes are practically inevitable in the time of COVID-19, sometimes it becomes clear that you and your spouse would be better off if you went your separate ways. To learn more about your divorce or dissolution options in the West Chester area, contact the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys today at Garretson & Holcomb, LLC at (513) 863-6600.