Togetherness Amidst Coronavirus
Not long ago I read that 16% of 30+ year marriages end in divorce. Most of those splits occurred after retirement. However, I fear that coronavirus quarantines could generate similar stress for younger couples as well. My previous research on surviving a husband’s retirement disclosed frustrations many wives of retired husbands experienced as a result of increased togetherness, and likely applies to younger couples today.
The challenge today is that, while younger couples face increased togetherness, they have additional challenges. The needs of children at home as well as concerns about the future add even more stress. As we all know, such unanticipated challenges can generate struggles in a relationship.
Before Coronavirus you hopefully had manageable routines that worked for both adults and any children in the family. In some cases work and family requirements may have caused unwelcome stress. Still, for the most part, we had choices that helped us adapt to our situations. For many families that’s not the case today. If both you and your partner are working from home, you may each need quiet space to complete your responsibilities. When children are also at home—and in need of “schooling help”— the reality of quiet becomes even more challenging.
Coping With Togetherness
How do couples cope? And, how do families cope? Truly, the needs are different in each relationship, so I won’t pretend to have perfect answers. However, I’d like to share some thoughts and ideas I’ve learned from those experiencing unanticipated daily togetherness. You probably know most of these tips already, but it never hurts to hear others’ ideas.
*Being aware of your partner’s needs is the first step toward compatibility. Knowing and understanding those needs makes it’s easier for you to jointly discover solutions.
*Especially when children are also at home, it is important for each of the adults to have time to spend with them and to spend alone.
*Exercise…alone or with your life-partner… and perhaps meditation, are important activities to continue on a regular basis.
*Be aware—and accepting—that both you and your partner are experiencing tension and possible fear about the future.
*Be forthright in acknowledging any losses you may be feeling and develop ways to adapt to these changes or losses together.
*Remember you are in this together and can meet the challenges for yourself and your mate and family.
*Truly this is not an easy time. However just think, having gone through quarantine will make retirement seem like a piece of cake!
Wishing everyone peace as we learn to cope with, what some have called the scourge of the century. May you and your family come out the other end stronger and more loving to one another.
A Moment for Inspiration
I’d like to share the following poem. I think you’ll like it.
It was written in 1869 by Kathleen O’Mara:
And people stayed at home
And read books
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.
Reprinted during Spanish flu Pandemic, 1918-1920
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