Managing Your Love Life During Lockdown
So we're a week in, I'm calling this the honeymoon stage of lockdown which of course for many it isn't. Many are living in hell, other people's lives (like ours actually) haven't changed that much. We for example, still have to work but not as key workers as "we ain't gonna eat if we don't work" workers. But a lot of people are enjoying the break from work and the time at home with their loved ones. And so they should.
(I really don't want to be a pessimist here) but relationships will be put under strain; there's the financial stress that couples are suddenly under, the global fear that's pretty unavoidable and of course the obvious fact that couples probably haven't spent this much time together since their long passed honeymoon. DON'T GET THE DIVORCE PAPERS! THERE IS HOPE...
Our job is speaking (mainly listening) to people. And we've noticed two things:
1. That right now, people are generally enjoying this new adjustment. They know (mostly) that they will get paid for being at home. We have sunshine, people are gardening, exercising (just once a day mind! Unless you are hard core and also nail a PE with Joe Wicks session). Kids are mostly happy about being off school, and family's are making memories at home. Everything is awesome...
2. That men and women are coping differently with what's happening. From the people we've spoken to men are not too phased by what's happening. They tend not to think too far ahead. They have left jobs "out there" for jobs "in here" and are getting straight on with those DIY jobs at home. My brother in law is on day 2 of isolation and has already made a patio, a new bench and some outdoor steps. Women on the other hand who are used to being more social are missing the connection with the community. They are missing the work that gave them a break from being a mum, that gave them another sense of purpose. They are missing the safety that came from a salary. They are mostly the ones who are braving the shops, trying to make good meals with missing ingredients, trying to source toilet rolls, baby wipes and milk. They are mostly the ones who are adopting the new role of teacher, entering a world that is new, scary and at times beautiful. We've noticed that women are grieving and we are predicting that men will too. Soon.
And that is when poop will hit the fan. This honeymoon stage will evolve over the next week or so. And a lack of understanding from partners in a confined space will make lockdown feel harder. Not for everyone, but for lots.
So here's what we suggest:
TALK. You have time, probably more than you've had in ages. Spend this time wisely and start by talking about how you feel about what's happening. What are you enjoying, what are your fears and concerns. Believe me you will be wearing these all over your face so talking about them will not only relax your facial muscles it will bring your partner into your world and help them to understand you - and your emotions right now - better.
FOCUS. Focus on what matters. Your marriage, your relationships, they matter. Arrange date nights, dinner in the garden just the two of you, cinema nights at home, sit at a different seat in the house with a tipple and put some music on, talk. Do not let this time of 'isolation' pass by without enjoying those evenings together.
HAVE FUN. The jobs have waited this long, they can wait longer still. Six months of home schooling might feel like a long time, but just think how quickly our summers go. Time flies. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, enjoy it. Make memories. Play in the street (there are hardly any cars). Play with water (we've had enough rain to last us a decade). Play with mud, sticks, leaves, each other. Play hard.
I'm not trying to play down what is happening, because it's huge. I know. But it can he huge and be good. We can be afraid but be close. We can be sad and still love.
Manage your love life and this unusual phase of life with time, focus and fun. We can thrive. And we will rise stronger. Together.
(We're running a free online marriage course: 'Love During Lockdown' on Monday nights at 8pm live on our new YouTube channel, we'd love to have you join us)