Marriages require an effective balance of separateness and togetherness. The proper ratio varies from couple to couple. Too much time together can be as challenging as not enough.
Divorce lawyers are reporting a huge increase in inquiries from unhappy people wanting a divorce. Luckily, there are steps anyone can take to decrease the odds of becoming one of those unhappy couples.
1. Have activities you do separately. Odds are that you’re spending plenty of time together. In your previous life, you might have struggled to find time to spend with your spouse. It’s possible to have too much of a good thing, especially if you have a smaller home. Spend some time apart each day.
- This is simple to accomplish. One of you goes to the store while the other one stays home. When the shopper returns, the person that stayed home can go for a walk or mow the grass. There’s a couple of hours of peace right there.
2. Avoid doing those things that you know irritate your spouse. You know what your spouse doesn’t like, and you might even do those things on purpose now and then just for spite. But, now isn’t the time for passive-aggressive behavior.
- Why poke the bear when you can’t get away from the bear? Increasing the level of resentment is just foolish.
3. Put a stop to any criticism. The same goes for criticism. It’s understandable that you might be frustrated with each other, but why take it to another level when it isn’t necessary?
- Have you ever received any personal criticism that strengthened your relationship with that person? Doubtful.
4. Stay busy. Bored and annoyed is worse than comfortably busy and annoyed. Find something to do and put your attention on that task. It’s a more productive and enjoyable way to coexist. Idle minds have a tendency to become agitated.
5. Argue outside of the home. If you’re going to fight, do it somewhere else. The kids will appreciate not having to be part of it. It also avoids emotionally contaminating the home. It’s less comfortable in the home after an argument has occurred. Argue somewhere else and preserve the sanctity of your home.
6. Keep the house tidy. A cluttered home is more stressful for everyone. Encourage everyone to pick up after themselves and there will be less tension in your home. Everyone in the house should have a couple of chores to do each day. A tidy home is a more peaceful home.
7. Communicate. Communication is always important. It’s more important now than ever. Try to have at least one meaningful conversation each day.
- What makes a conversation meaningful? Both of you are glad you had the conversation. You can have a meaningful conversation about the weather or garbage cans, as long as you’re both glad you had the conversation afterwards.
8. Establish some routines. Keep a routine. It’s going to be a different routine than before, but a routine is still important. Get everyone out of bed by a certain time. Have a dinner routine and a bedtime routine. Keep everyone on some semblance of a schedule.
9. Be kind. Everyone knows how to be kind. Be especially kind during this challenging time.
Marriages are challenging even under great circumstances, and we’re not living in great circumstances right now. A little prevention can go a long way toward preserving your marriage.
Be sure to give each other the alone time that you both need. Place a premium on communication. Be kind. This is good advice for any marriage under any circumstance, and even more so during troubling times.