Not too long ago the year started with a bang. Since then days and weeks have, pretty much, flown past.
Every day had a fully booked schedule consisting of meetings, deadlines, client visits, budgets, school activities, homework, housework, financial planning for the year or even some personal goals you started working on. Every so often you would look at your partner in all the busyness and think “I wish we could spend more time together”, or “I wish we had more quality time together”. The universe responded, “Your wish is my command”…
Without any preparation, with the flick of a switch, overnight you and your partner are locked in with each other. What to do with all this time on your hands? In some cases, it’s not only with your partner but also with your kids. Suddenly you have a full house all of the time, and opposite thoughts are creeping into your mind, like “How will our relationship survive?
“It is absolutely normal to have more worries and doubts during this time, but ladies and gentlemen, we have two choices during this time. We can either be the victim of the circumstances filled with anxiety, fear, worry and uncertainty. Or, we can take responsibility of the situation and make it work in our favour, says Maryke Groenewald, life coach and founder of Life Purpose Coaching in Pretoria.
She shares a few suggestions for the couples out there fearing for their relationship during this time:
- Communication is always key. Sit down together and decide on a daily schedule that suits you both. If you have children, include them too so that they also have a sense of responsibility for the days to come. The schedule should ideally include some, or all of the following items:
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner times
- Work/study times – if you’re not working from home, this will be alone time dedicated for reading, meditating, self-reflection, or learning a new skill or hobby etc.
- Leisure time – this can include watching a movie together, playing board games, having a cup of coffee etc.
- Homework chores time
- Gardening or DIY work
- Cooking ideas – decide on turns and when you will be cooking something together
- At the end of the day, reflect on what worked and what didn’t – refine your schedule until it’s workable for you as a family.
- Keep busy – Make a list of things that needs to be done and some goals you’ll be working on together as couple
- Respect each other’s time
- Do not act out of emotion – this is a very important point. Remember, during this time we will experience more fear, anxiety and worry than usual. This will make you more easily irritable and frustrated than before, and you need to be wary of them.
“When you get upset with your partner, instead of reacting immediately or acting out, take two steps back. Walk away and reflect on the situation. Ask yourself, “Is it my partner that upset me, or am I stressed out at the moment and irritable?” “Is it worth the confrontation or not?” Maryke says.
“My advice will always be to not act immediately from an emotional point of view. Wait at least a day and see how you feel about the situation. If you still feel it’s something that bothers you, have a conversation with your partner when you are no longer upset or emotional. Also, when you do have a conversation with your partner, steer clear from “You” statements, rather keep with “I feel” statements. Avoid blaming your partner, rather come to a compromise to resolve the situation,” she adds.
- Treat each other with respect – a harmonious environment will be much more conducive to productivity, unconditional support and tremendously important for your emotional wellbeing
- Think of things to do together as a couple – try out a new recipe together, plan some DIY activities to do together, re-organize the house together, play games together etc
- Plan a romantic dinner date every now and again
- Be affectionate towards one another – now is the perfect time to rekindle the flame again in your relationship. Think back to how it was in the beginning, do you still hold hands, do you still cuddle and share kisses in the passing?
- Take initiative – don’t have expectations from your partner to bring any changes to the relationship. Expectations creates all our unhappiness, as we get disappointed when they are not met according to our standards.
- Draw up a positive change plan for after the lockdown – what have you learn during this time that you can implement after the lockdown to keep your relationship healthy going forward?
- Accept and love unconditionally – remember, we cannot change any person other than ourselves. If your partner chooses to not implement any plan of action for the duration for the lockdown, you still have the choice on how to react to the situation. You can either choose to be the victim thereof and focus on resentment, or you can choose to accept the situation for what it is and express unconditional love.
- Have a personal list of positive daily intentions, for example:
- Today I choose to be happy, no matter the situation
- Today I choose to express unconditional love
- Today I choose to be calm, content and at peace with our circumstances
- Today I choose to accept what is
“With all the best tools in the book, this will still be a challenging experience for most. But at the end of the day we need to remember that we only have control over one thing. We cannot change the situation, we cannot change our partner and we cannot change time. The only thing we have full control over is our perceptions, choices and our reactions,” Maryke says.,
She says the key lies in choosing how you want to perceive the situation, people’s reactions, behaviour and their emotions. “Know that this too shall pass, that with a flick of a switch, everything will continue again as normal, and you will reflect back on this time. The choices you make now and during the next few days ahead will forever impact your life and your relationship in the future, after lockdown, choose wisely, choose love,” Maryke adds.
For more information visit www.lifepurposecoaching.co.za.