It’s not the pandemic. It’s the lockdowns. A massive life disruption for nearly a year has placed unprecedented strain on our collective mental health. Part of that strain is leaning directly on any couple’s life. They weren’t kidding when they said, “for better or for worse.”
Relationships across the globe have been suddenly navigating a wave of new dynamics. If we were to believe all the headlines and social media memes, we might fear a dramatic rise in the divorce rate. Yet, this perception downplays the resourcefulness many people are displaying. In fact, marriage proposals skyrocketed in 2020. Plenty of couples are thriving amidst the stress. It’s no coincidence that they have some qualities in common.
A Global Epidemic of Stress
Since the pandemic hit, individuals and couples have been confronted with situations that may have once seemed utterly impossible. Any duo attempting to thrive during this situation is dealing with, among other things:
- Having to manage new norms like working from home, virtual schooling, loss of social life, and suddenly being face-to-face with your partner all day, every day
- Fears about their health, related to the virus itself
- Concerns about the well-being of their loved ones
- Financial strain/Job loss
- Mental health challenges
- Negotiating a minefield of social issues — from civil unrest, widespread division, riots, elections, etc.
- The uncertainty of when or if life will ever feel “normal” again
- Did I mention the whole “together 24/7” thing?
No one can possibly thrive under such onerous conditions without putting forth a sustained, conscious effort. So, what might such an effort look like?
3 Qualities You Can Share with Couples Who Are Thriving Despite the Pandemic
1. Prioritizing Your Relationship
Pre-pandemic, it almost felt as if you could be excused for taking your partner for granted (spoiler alert: you can’t). The responsibilities and distractions of everyday life can be overwhelming. Your relationship may slide down your list of priorities amid the hustle and bustle. During COVID, however, many couples are jumping on the priceless opportunity to re-center their relationship.
Who knows? With all this increased focus, you may discover you don’t know each other as well as you imagined. What a beautiful gift you’ve been given, to rediscover your partner and reinvent your love.
2. Face-to-Face, Direct Communication
No more excuses. You may have convinced yourself that texts and DMs kind of made sense when you were living the pre-pandemic life (spoiler alert: they actually didn’t). The past year, however, has presented couples with a golden chance to hone and refine their communication skills. If you are homebound for work and play, direct communication can be a welcome break from all the forced screen time required by the pandemic.
Nothing can replace face-to-face interaction for a thriving couple. It’s the most intimate way to bond and interact. Choose to be direct, respectful, and patient as you share and listen to each other openly.
3. Embrace the Moment
Uncertainty is a permanent companion. In 2021, it just feels more omnipresent than ever. The past seems like a dream. The future? Who knows when that will arrive or what it will look like?
This just might be the push you’ve needed to embrace mindfulness and gratitude as a couple. Long before masks became a fashion statement, all we ever had was the present. Healthy couples everywhere are intentionally counting their blessings at the moment.
Checking in on your own emotions, paying attention to your responses to each other, and expressing appreciation demonstrates a willingness to remain emotionally aware. Despite all the stressors, find ways to explore gratitude. Make the most of opportunities to build goodwill in your relationship, this helps sustain you both when tensions eventually rise.
Social Distancing Does Not Mean You Are Alone
None of the above is meant to imply that some couples cannot thrive. Some couples just need a little help. There is no shame in seeking guidance. Through the support of online therapy, you can safely engage in couples counseling from the comfort of your own home. Your therapy sessions can be a valuable avenue toward recovery and reconnection.