If you’ve been under a massive rock, you know that we’re under orders to self-quarantine to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus that has become a global pandemic. Schools all across the country are closing, travel is coming to a halt, and a lot of businesses are sending their workers home. Even if you’re not having to work from home, social distancing is keeping people in the house after hours and on the weekend. Going to restaurants can be a little risky because there are other people there too. With all of that going on, we’re sure to have to spend more time around our families and our spouses. That will surely be an adjustment for some of us. Cabin fever is certain to ensue, so this is how to keep your marriage intact while stuck in the house.
sharing space isn’t always that easy
For those of us who are introverts, people-ing can wear us out. We need to have our time alone in order to recharge. I’ve seen people joking about being stuck in the house with their families. But for some of us, the thought of it is a little stressful.
My friend Brandi posted this on her Twitter feed:
It was one of those “it’s funny because it’s true” moments.
Even though we all laughed and chimed in with jokes of our own, I won’t talk about anyone else. Just from my perspective. My husband knows that I adore him. He knows that I love to spend time with him. But my strongest love language isn’t Quality Time.
As someone who also struggles with anxiety. I thrive on having my own methods and systems to get things done. The few times that he has worked from home have caused a little tension, at least on my part. Hubby works in silence, but I need background noise to focus. That’s usually in the form of a mindless TV show.
Don’t try to understand it…just let it happen.
From the response in Brandi’s Twitter thread, I realized that I wasn’t the only one who is a little worried about what’s going to happen when their spouse has to work from home in the same space that we normally occupy alone.
Looks like we’re going to be in this together…literally…for a while. So what should we do? How are we supposed to keep our marriages intact while stuck in the house?
How to work together at home
Sharing workspace with another person (when you’re not used) to it can be jarring. As with any aspect of your marriage, you’ll have to be intentional when working together from home. Here are some tips that will help:
- Switch up the chore chart. If you have extra hands at home during the day, delegate some of the responsibility.
- Claim your territory. Decide who will work where; this will be really important if you don’t have an office or spare room.
- Work on a schedule. It’ll be easier to work when you have a list of things to do to keep you focused.
- Invest in a good pair of headphones. Try not to distract your spouse with your noise and to not be distracted by their need for silence.
How to keep your marriage intact while stuck in the house
Having different work styles will lead to conflict if you can’t find a way to compromise. Full disclosure: I love having my husband at home but my anxiety goes through the roof when we’re both working from home. Why? I feel compelled to hover a bit to make sure he’s ok. I worry about if I’m bothering him…maybe because of the hovering? I have my schedule of how I work and have to try to work around him. He works in silence so I have to work in silence, which is a distraction for me. When I get bored, I want to see what he’s doing…which interrupts him.
How in the world is our marriage going to stay sane under these conditions?
First thing is to figure out what we need to accomplish each day. Having a schedule will keep each of us on track. Figure out how many hours we’re working and then what we will get done during work hours.
With both of you at home working, you have the perfect opportunity to connect! Take breaks together to check in with each other. Enjoy lunch together and watch a quick 30-60 min show on Netflix or Hulu. Or, if you need to burn off some calories…
Leaving your work “at work”
Granted, I’m terrible at this one, but I won’t have much choice when hubby is working from home. As part of your scheduling, be sure to have a defined time to end your workday. Leave your unfinished work for tomorrow. Enjoy the evening bonding with your spouse and family.
Communicate with each other
The biggest key to surviving this ordeal will be to communicate with each other. What do you need to successfully work from home? Do you have a meeting and need a bit of silence for a certain period of time? Talk to each other and establish boundaries. If you’re feeling a little stressed out, be intentional about taking time to calm down and breathe. Remember, you loved each other enough to say “I do” and that’s the same love that will allow you to be around each other…all…day…long…
After work hours
So before everything fell apart and everyone was stuck in the house, we could go out, hang out with our friends, and enjoy an intimate date night out. Things have changed (just a little bit) but it’s important that we hang on to some semblance of normalcy.
Here are a few tips to help you to do that:
Keep the family on a routine.
This is super important if you have kids. Their educational routine may have to be adapted but keep them on their evening schedule.
Don’t forget your spouse!
In all of the chaos that comes along with being quarantined, it’s easy to go through the motions and “check things off the list.” Be intentional about prioritizing your marriage and your partner.
Keep dating each other.
If you have a standing date each week, keep it! If you don’t, now is the perfect time to create one. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Our first quarantine day night in was a romantic Italian dinner by candlelight. And by romantic Italian dinner, I mean spaghetti and garlic toast. It was beautiful.
Remember that this too shall pass.
Being stuck at home is going to be hard for everyone. We can choose to find light in the darkness. Make the most of the time that you have together. Tomorrow is not promised, but we have every opportunity to find the joy in today. Seek it out.
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What are you going to do to keep your marriage intact while stuck in the house? Let me know in the comments below!
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