Have you ever read Love in the Time of Cholera? I have to confess, I never have. It’s one of those reads I’ve always wanted to take on, but haven’t gotten to yet. All of a sudden I find myself wondering if it has some tips in there for us all. Do you feel as though your relationship has entered a new phase on quarantine? Are you experiencing a shift whether ‘for better or worse’ with your significant other? Could this be a new relationship that has shifted into overdrive as you spend crazy time together so early on?
Same here, friends, same here. This is hard stuff. You know, relationships are really complex without this whole being together 24/7 thing. Don’t you think? It is difficult to be intentional about your time together when you are together constantly and your days are filled with distractions of work, kids, cooking, cleaning, stress eating, working out to cancel out the stress eating, etc. You may say, these are all the same things we deal with outside of quarantine life, and I guess you wouldn’t be wrong. However, when you are home, the list never turns off for any amount of time and days kind of meld together. There’s no break from seeing the pile of laundry growing. There’s no break from the emails or chats coming your way for work. And heaven knows, there is no break from parenting. With all of those distractions and to do’s flying in the atmosphere, how can you possibly make time for your relationship?!?
I wish I had a definitive answer for you. As you know from previous posts, we are typically quite intentional about having regular time just the 2 of us to connect and chat without interruption. It is our plan to have date nights twice a month and in between those to have a secret happy hour twice a month. We also aim for a night out of town together once a quarter. Yes, our babysitters are kept pretty darn busy ;). The problem is, none of those things have happened for over 2 months now, and boy are we feeling it. In its place, we have entered into the sport of Extreme Family Togetherness. I’m not sure if we are winning or not….. the score keeping is really iffy here. This feels like a game created by a 5yr old where the rules change constantly… not that I have ever experienced that ;).
What I do know, is that we are still trying our best. We have put the kids first and I have to tell you, there is a reason why your relationship should come before your children. Without that solid foundation of a happy couple, eeks, you may not have much. So, what are we doing to ‘fix’ this situation? How are we putting up points on the leaderboard? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s called, lower standards.
Some days, that means lower standards for meals. For example, the art of snack dinner. Go ahead and lower those standards for cleanliness, friends. Your children may not bathe as often as normal, or maybe they will more often as something to keep them busy :). Things may not get picked up. Laundry may go undone. Counters may be cluttered. Do those things really matter as much as we allow them to?
Whether or not you have kiddos running around screaming, if you have a relationship, I beg you to make real time for each other. This may simply mean setting a specific time to log-off for the day, and sticking to it. Possibly this looks like putting your phones up for a certain amount of time each evening. If you are both home, maybe you have a standing lunch date to dine and enjoy a show together. It may be sitting in the dining room for dinner while the kids eat in front of the TV. It may mean after bedtime, finding the will and energy to share a beverage on the porch. If you’re lucky, maybe you can go for a morning walk or sneak in a workout together. Time to focus on each other is beyond important and I beg you to do it.
While this quarantine is uber challenging, there is a lot of opportunity. Opportunity for connection. Opportunity for growth. Opportunity to see things in a new way. Let me qualify this because you are not going to feel those things every day, and that is ok. The feelings of positivity may not even be at the forefront of your mind. Did you know that it is a natural default evolutionarily to focus on the ‘bad’ or the ‘threat’? However, that doesn’t mean you can’t consciously change the focus and make a shift.
What are you doing to maintain your love life? How are you working together to build upon the amazing foundation you already have? Is this a time to experience a whole new way of togetherness?