STAYING MARRIED DURING A PANDEMIC

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marriage + pandemic

I think I just opened up a can of worms. Huh?


It’s been a year. A year since our worlds came to a holt. ONE year since my husband moved his office into our house. And a year since we confirmed that, if we can make this work, we can make anything work.

First of all, my husband working from home was an enormous change for us. Not only did we have to adjust to him being here all day, every day. But I also had to adjust to the kids being here, ALL DAY – EVERY DAY.

However, just like everything else, I assessed the situation and accepted my new role as the peacekeeper. I stepped up my game as a mother and a wife and he faced fatherhood and the breadwinner role with big shoulders and a game face. Team US!

marriage and pandemic

How do you manage working from home and keep a healthy relationship?

Patience and love.

That is really all it takes. If you have neither, then you are in trouble. If you are not willing to compromise, adapt and accept – it’s can be a struggle.

But the good news is, we are all capable of this. It ALL comes down to want! Do you want to make this work? If the answer is yes, then you WILL make it work. If the answer is a hesitant yes, or a definite no, then don’t waste your time and focus on moving on and forward.

What did we do to make it smooth and seamless?

Space.

We stay out of each others way.

As soon as we found out that he had to work from home and kids had to remote learn, we designated a space for everyone. Kids had their workstations, in their rooms. He took over our home office. I moved my stuff to the kitchen table and we rolled with it.

He had his space to focus on work and keep the work in his space. Most of the time, he would stay in the office anyways so we still had plenty of alone time.

How do you not fight?

Boundaries.

The first week or two were rough. We didn’t fight but I was a mess trying to coordinate everything and every one. But once we found our groove, we had nothing to fight about. We are healthy, we have a house, he has a job, the kids are warm and getting their education right at home. I am still doing my work and my regular stay at home mom things. And as long as you are aware of the situation and have a grateful heart, things are easier.

But my main goal has always been to focus on what WE DO HAVE vs what WE DO NOT HAVE. So we like to remind each other of that, daily. Sometimes with criticism but constructive criticism only. There is no time for pushing blame during a pandemic. Once you shift that focus, you become happier.

Tips for other couples?

Our relationship has always been based on trust and respect. On patience and communication. When we don’t like something, we talk about it almost immediately. If we cannot express ourselves in person, we send each other an email. But we always follow it up with a discussion. Once you have these set rules in place, there is no room for miscommunication. Does it happen from time to time, of course. We are human not robots. But we really, really try to voice our concerns as well as happiness at all times. We don’t leave anything for later.

Respect is a big one. If you don’t respect your person and you don’t feel bad if they treat you with disrespect or vice versa, I say run. A healthy relationship cannot withstand disrespect. Once you loose that, everything else becomes a big deal. But when you truly respect your person and they respect your back, you make things work. You don’t want to see them fail and you fight for them.

Make time for each other. Even though you are in the house, all the time, together, and it can be UNSEXY at times. Making alone time, especially now, is crucial. We need that. A hug and a cuddle can go a long way.

Laugh. Watch comedy shows or movies together. Laugh a lot. Download TikTok and just catch up on what everyone else is doing. But do it together and have fun. I have a tendency to just be goofy from time to time. Especially when times get tense. It really breaks up the tension and makes us regroup.

Special treats. Go out of your way and order something she/ he loves. Make their favorite dish. Pick up or order flowers. Help the kids with homework, do the dishes, vacuum, help with laundry, plan a game night, etc. Don’t wait for a holiday to show them you appreciate them. Trust me, attention to detail means a lot for all. Even kids.

Photos. Look through old photos from your dating/ wedding days. Replay videos of when the babies were born. Relive and remind each other of past adventures and start making a list of all of the things you will do once the pandemic is over. We do this often and it really makes us happy.

What if you can’t handle the stress?

It’s okay. Let it out. We sure have!

You are not a rock, you have feelings. You all do. Kids included. Let the frustration out. Maybe get a punching bag. Maybe take up running. Maybe scream and cry. We’ve done it all.

Whatever makes you release that stress that you feel deep inside, do it. But have empathy for everyone in the house. We all deal with stress differently and if necessary, there are plenty of online recourses you can talk to. Take advantage of help.

What do you expect at the end of all of this?

Appreciation. While this pandemic has struck the world, causing immense disruptions and changes in our family and work life, we appreciate each other more than ever.

I understand that not everyone had the choices we had. Not every marriage was blessed with the circumstances we were blessed with. Married couples faced stress unlike any other. But I would like to believe that for those that were meant to be together, the commitment to one another has deepened.

If you WANT it, you will make it work.

x, Dijana

staying married + pandemic

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