Coronavirus marriage

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Relationships and Coronavirus: Tips for Married Couples During Quarantine

Relationships and Coronavirus: Tips for Married Couples During Quarantine

Being quarantined together can be a blessing or a curse for relationships
Coronavirus marriage

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Due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines across America, many couples are spending more uninterrupted time than ever together in coronavirus quarantine. Because of this, people have joked that there will be booms in both babies and divorces. On top of the stress of living through a global pandemic, many couples are also dealing with new difficulties such as financial uncertainty and working from home together. If you’re a married couple, here are some tips to navigate this unprecedented time in your relationship.

Confide in one another

Confide in one another

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Trust and honesty are some of the core elements of a strong relationship. It’s important to be vulnerable and authentic with your spouse, especially when it comes to the stress you are feeling during this time. Silently bearing the burden of worrying about your financial future or a loved one’s health or struggling with your own mental health prohibits your partner from being able to encourage or assist you.

Be supportive

Be supportive

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You and your spouse are handling a myriad of new stresses while also more intimately experiencing each other’s day-to-day if you’re self-quarantined at home together. Instead of being able to easily chat with nearby coworkers, neighbors and friends, you might be the person they now turn to when they need to vent their frustrations and anxieties. You might not have any answers or understand the intricacies of their stressful work situation, but active listening is a simple way to emotionally support them during this time.

Socialize with other people

Socialize with other people

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Your spouse might be the only person you’re interacting with face-to-face during quarantine, but you cannot expect them to fill every role in your life. Most people need other kinds of connections and support. Thankfully there are many ways to stay in touch with friends and family during coronavirus quarantine. Although you might not be able to see your siblings, parents or friends in person, it’s important to schedule phone or video calls, game nights and more with them.

Divide and conquer

Divide and conquer

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The coronavirus pandemic has thrown many families’ daily routines out the window. If you and your spouse have children, you’ll need to strategize in order to get your own work done while also supervising and entertaining your kids all day. Consider split-shifting in which you each break up your workday into parts and stagger your schedules so that one parent is able to handle childcare while the other is working. Even if you’re not a parent, split-shifting can also be helpful when it comes to divvying up chores or responsibilities around the house such as walking the dog or cooking dinner.

Give each other breathing room

Give each other breathing room

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The novel coronavirus might be giving you and your spouse some much-needed time to reconnect and rely on each other. However, even the closest of couples needs time apart to keep their marriage strong. Take turns going for long walks or bike rides during the day. One person can get some fresh air and sunshine while the other watches the kids — or takes some “me time” of their own by meditating or taking a soothing bath while their spouse is out.

Get on the same page

Get on the same page

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Although you might feel like you’re together every minute of the day while working from home, you still need to have clear, frequent communication about schedules, responsibilities and expectations to have a healthy marriage. Consider setting up daily or weekly check-ins with your partner to go over what’s on your docket for work and what other things need to get taken care of around the house. One of you might need a block of quiet time while on a video conference call, so the other might step out to take the kids on a bike ride. One person might’ve made plans to have a remote game night with friends, so the other can’t plan to vacuum during that time. Knowing in advance can help your partner accommodate your needs and vice versa.

Set up private spaces

Set up private spaces

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No matter what size apartment, condo or home you share with your spouse, it can feel like there’s no escape from them while you’re in quarantine. Even if you share the smallest of big-city apartments, try to create any sort of separate or private space you can. Putting up a room divider, shutting a bedroom door or even having your partner face away from you with headphones in can give you privacy and help remove distractions whether you’re working or trying to clear your mind.

Find a compassionate way to air frustrations

Find a compassionate way to air frustrations

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Even if you are able to take breaks and spend time apart or with other people, you might find yourself more frustrated than usual with your partner. Their habit of keeping a cluttered workspace or tapping their pen along to music might be inescapably annoying when you’re both trying to work in close quarters. Don’t bottle up how you feel only to explode at them in the moment. Calmly bring it up during your weekly check-ins or while you’re having your morning coffee together the next day. That way, if you need to call out the behavior during the day, it can be a gentle nudge instead of what feels like an attack out of nowhere.

Help each other get into a routine

Help each other get into a routine

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One of the most effective tips for working from home during quarantine is to establish a routine. You and your partner can help each other not stay up too late or to have too much screen time before bed, motivate each other to get dressed and eat breakfast before work in the morning and take regular breaks throughout the day. These can all help boost your mood and improve your well-being so you can be the best version of yourself for your partner after you log off for the day.

Be active together

Be active together

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One of the best routines to get into during quarantine is being active every day. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that American adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. Being active will help both of your physical and mental health during this time. Trying out new routines or taking free exercise classes is a great way to have fun and spend time together.

Message each other

Message each other

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Many people are craving a sense of normalcy during this time, especially in their romantic relationships. One way to provide your partner with that is to text or message them throughout the day — even if they’re working a few feet away. Sending them a funny clip, asking what new recipe they want to make for dinner or writing them a flirtatious message can put a smile on their face and build anticipation for when you get “off” work and can spend quality time together.

Say ‘I love you’

Say ‘I love you’

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“I love you” is both one of the most powerful and most common phrases in the English language. While it can simply be used to communicate romantic feelings, it can also be used to show appreciation, support, admiration, respect and concern. During this especially trying time, your spouse might need to hear those words more than usual from you.

Learn about your partner’s day-to-day

Learn about your partner’s day-to-day

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Spending so much uninterrupted time with your spouse and seeing what their life actually looks like day-to-day can bring you two closer. Seeing all they have to juggle and manage, how tough their job can be and how they parent while your kids are home can make you more understanding and appreciative of all they do. Acknowledging everything they do and strategizing how to better support them and meet their needs could change your dynamic for the better.

Keep quality time tech-free

Keep quality time tech-free

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When working from home, it can be harder to establish boundaries between working hours and off-hours. It can also be more difficult to define what “quality time” looks like when you’re together all day. Set times when you will firmly be offline so you can focus on your family. Tune out social media and put away your phone and laptop and be intentional about spending quality time together.

Plan date nights

Plan date nights

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Spending intentional time with your significant other is one of the keys to a healthy marriage. And just because you’re quarantined, doesn’t mean you can’t have a romantic date night that feels like a night out. Plan a dinner date that involves trying a gourmet new recipe or ordering food from your favorite special occasion restaurant, complete with fancy table settings, candles and mood music. You could also plan a movie date by printing out custom tickets and setting up a sweet and salty concession stand. These thoughtful touches will make your time together feel special.

Celebrate each other

Celebrate each other

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With your social calendars cleared and many events and celebrations canceled, your spouse might be disappointed that they can’t have a big birthday party or go out for drinks to celebrate their promotion. Be their cheerleader and organize a remote celebration to honor them and their achievements. If their spirits need a boost right now, consider celebrating something small. You could bake a cake to mark them nailing a presentation or stage a glam photoshoot to show off how they successfully cut their own hair at home.

Plan a future trip together

Plan a future trip together

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Another great way to take your mind off stressful situations and give the pair of you something to look forward to is to start planning a future trip together. Although there are still plenty of questions surrounding travel and the coronavirus pandemic, you don’t have to book anything yet. Simply researching a new destination and discovering landmarks you want to visit and places you want to eat will give you two a common goal. In the meantime, there are also ways you can have a staycation at home while waiting for the real thing.

Take a walk down memory lane

Take a walk down memory lane

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While you might not be out on new adventures making new, exciting memories as a couple, you could use this time to look back and marvel at how far you’ve come. Research has indicated that reminiscing about happier, early parts of your relationship can lead to a sense of satisfaction with your relationship in the present. Spend an afternoon or evening looking through old photos from your wedding, your favorite vacation and other milestones.

Respect their coronavirus comfort zone

Respect their coronavirus comfort zone

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You might be ready to throw a backyard barbeque the day that social distancing guidelines are lifted in your city or state. However, your partner might not be on the same page and want to be more cautious. Check in with your spouse and respect their comfort zone when it comes to how you both are socializing now and in the months ahead — especially if they have someone in their life who is at-risk for catching or developing severe complications from coronavirus.

Self-isolate

Self-isolate

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This difficult time will become even more stressful if one or both of you get sick. If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 despite precautions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 14 days of quarantine after the time of exposure. It could take that long for symptoms to develop, so even if you don’t feel sick, you should opt to self-quarantine to prevent the spread of the illness. If you experience symptoms of COVID-19, you should also self-isolate in a separate area within your own home to prevent the spread of infection. If you’re taking care of someone who is sick, here are the most important steps to follow.

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