The COVID-19 quarantines have inspired closures of businesses and government offices, places of amusement and places of, well, not amusement (like the courts!). We have determined that the best way to minimize the threat of this virus is to not only distance ourselves from one another for a certain period of time, but to remain at home if at all possible. Initially this was done with stay at home orders during the outset of the pandemic. While many of those stay at home orders have expired, some have remained in places like Harris County.
If you are still at home with your family, then you can consider yourself fortunate in some regards. The fact that you and your family are not sick, not in the hospital and not having to work a job where you are required to be in the midst of this virus is a good thing on many levels. What you can do to increase your and your family’s chances of not getting sick is to continue to work from home as much as possible and to enjoy the opportunities that you have with your family.
That may be easier said than done if you and your spouse are going through martial problems. A lot of married people who are struggling within their relationship argue that they need some time apart in order to clear their heads and determine what direction they need to know next. You and your spouse do not really have that option to take advantage of, however. Additionally, I’m not sure that separating yourself from your spouse during this time is a good idea. It may be that you all can use this time to work out many of the issues that are troubling your marriage.
What steps can you take to ensure that this time period isn’t just one spent with you all worrying about getting sick and fighting over the remote control? In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan I am going to share with you some tips on how to not only survive with your spouse during the COVID-19 quarantines, but actually strengthen your marriage. If you have questions about any of the advice that I have given in this blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan for a free of charge consultation with one of our attorneys.
Tip #1: Be patient with your spouse- overly patient
Whether you know it or not, your spouse is stressed out right now more than usual. He or she may not be acting that way but they are consuming the same media coverage that we all are. Scary things are flashing across the television and the internet every day. Your spouse’s job may be in jeopardy. Your children have been home for months and are only adding to the stress levels. What can you do to help with this situation?
I would recommend that you be as patient as possible with your spouse. The little things that he or she would do that would bother you previously are the sort of things that you should do your best not to comment on. Rather, work towards showing patient and love towards your spouse in situations where you previously would have been impatient or annoyed. You may be surprised to see how quickly that kindness is returned to you.
Tip #2: Communicate with your spouse- even about the little things
When we are facing dramatic times in our world it I think it is an instinct of ours to focus only on the big picture items and to neglect the small picture items. The irony is that when we are at home all we have are small picture items. Any of the things we read about in the newspaper are not things that we can do much about while we are at home. We may as well focus on the things that we can do something about- like improving our relationship with our spouse and children.
For instance, when was the last time that you and your spouse sat down and had a conversation that had nothing to do with your marriage, money or other problems? Have you laughed together recently? One thing that my wife and I do is think about our goals for the next year, three years and five years? You may be surprised to learn that your spouse has goals that you never even knew about. Why not take the time to go over those goals and see what you all can to go begin to achieve them?
Tip #3: Eat better while you are at home
This may be a tip that catches you by surprise. How can eating better make a difference as to how you are relating to your spouse while on quarantine? Here is how- have you ever stopped to think how you act towards another person when you are hungry? What about when you don’t feel well? If you are spending your time at home eating food that tastes good but has nutritional benefit then you may be in a position where you are hurting yourself indirectly with the food you eat.
Why not take this quarantine as an opportunity to perform a re-set on yourself and the way you eat? It is not my place to tell you how to eat. I am not a perfect eater and could do better myself. However, one thing that I have tried to do consciously as I spend more time at home is to eat well. Healthy foods and a balanced diet do wonders for your mood, your attitude and how you act towards those around you.
If you are sluggish and feeling out of sorts that will go a long way towards determining how well you are able to relate to your family and make the effort that you need to care for them and yourself. In a marriage that is struggling, you cannot improve the state of the relationship when you are ill. A healthier person is happier, has a better attitude and can go a long way towards having this time at home be productive for you and your spouse.
Tip #4: Go for a walk
This is a fun activity for those of us who can get out of the house ok and physically perform the action of walking. If you are disabled or otherwise unable to walk, you can create your own routine of exercise as best you are able. For the rest of us, taking a walk in the morning or evening can be a great way to talk with your family about what is going on in your lives and to get some fresh air. Turning off the news and stepping foot outside can go a very long ways towards helping you keep a proper perspective on the day’s events.
Have you ever noticed that if you are walking with another person it is difficult to not talk to him or her? Keep your phone at home and look at the world around you. Walking without your phone and without other distractions will open up your eyes and cause you to notice things that you otherwise never would have. It is a nice change of pace to be able to stretch you legs and get your heart pumping a little bit.
Exercise can also go a long way towards helping you stay healthy during this time and to keep your spirits up. I don’t think I need to tell you about endorphins and about how aerobic exercise aids in the release of endorphins. These endorphins can cause you to see your surroundings and the people in your family differently. That may be just what the doctor ordered given the circumstances that we find ourselves in.
Tip #5: Take some time to be honest with your spouse about how you feel
If you had been seeing a marriage counselor there is at least a chance that you have not been able to do so since the quarantines have begun. Even if you have been able to conduct these sessions over the phone or via video-screen there is something about being in the same room as another person that can really benefit a person who is in a relationship that is in trouble. The bond that you can feel with a person who is physically close to you can really help you to overcome problems in your marriage.
I already mentioned that communication is a huge part of healing a marriage that is on the rocks. That healing will not happen in a day or two. However, what you can do is to work towards being comfortable honestly communicating your thoughts and ideas to your spouse. The other side of the coin to this concept is that you need to be prepared for your spouse to be honest with you, as well.
Creating an atmosphere of trust is central to being honest with your spouse. If you cannot be honest with him or her then you will never develop the level of trust that you need to succeed in your marriage. So, put away the television remote, wait for the kids to be in bed and talk to your spouse about how you feel in your marriage. I think from there the conversation will naturally turn to what you all think needs to be done to improve the relationship. It may not be the most pleasant conversation you’ve had but I think that marriage is a process of give and take.
Tip #6: Listen more than you talk
I’ve heard from more than one person that we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason: that being that we were designed to do twice as much listening as we do talk. This is a cute little saying to tell people, but I think there is a lot of truth to it. Think about how often in our lives we walk away from an interaction with someone else and are kicking ourselves because of something we said. We would want to take back we said, or at least say it differently, but of course we cannot. Had we spent that time listening to the other person we wouldn’t have that problem, however.
The reality is that people (for the most part) like to talk and like to talk about themselves more than anything. This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, but it is something that we all need to be aware of. What you can do to help your marriage during this time is to listen to the things that are on your spouse’s mind. You don’t need to try and solve each of their problems. Sometimes all that is needed by you is to listen and support him or her.
When we feel defensive or angry, we have a tendency to do more talking then we ought to. These are the circumstances that we especially should try and focus on our listening and our spouses, rather than on ourselves. A busy daily routine focuses on accomplishing our goals for ourselves. If there is one benefit to being quarantined it’s that we are now focusing on our families as much as on ourselves. This could be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to you and your marriage.
Questions about family law in Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
The attorneys and staff with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan want to thank you for spending part of your day on our blog. Our law practice is committed to helping our clients and their families during these strange times. If you are interested in learning more about our law office and the services we provide to our clients please contact us today. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week by video and phone.