Couples & Covid-19 – what helps?

How is Corona virus affecting couples and families? And how can couples stay strong?

Those questions were recently posed to Dr. Matt Morris

How is covid-19 affecting couples and families?

“We’re not exactly sure, but we’re certain that the Covid-19 quarantine is affecting couples and families in unique ways.”

  • Couples are spending hours, days, and weeks together in comparison to the 100-150 minutes per day they were accustomed to spending together (estimated average for working couples).  That’s a huge change.
  • Couples are spending far less time away from home, at the office or work, and commuting – far less down time and alone time away from the family.
  • They are spending far less time with friends and extending family.
  • We are social beings and we crave connection, so many people are becoming more intentional and creative about using technology to connect with others.
  • The literal walls of the residence can feel for some as a protective sanctuary, and for others as a maddening cage.
  • People are also expressing gratitude for the opportunity to slow down, rest, be together, and to re-imagine their daily routines.  Almost everyone I talk to wants to take some quality from this experience forward into their new normal.

What seems to help couples cope with these challenges?

  • Couples need to be intentional about caring for their relationship while quarantined.  Be careful with your relationship and take care of it.  These are somewhat fragile times.  Don’t be reckless with your relationship right now.
  • Find a routine to organize the time into productive work and rest periods.
  • Build a family schedule that includes work, breaks, fun, leisure.  You’re in charge of your time.
  • Designate work areas in the home for each member.
  • Talk together sooner about frustrations within the home and relationship. Irritations cannot be allowed to grow and fester in such close confines. When needed, walk away and try again later.
  • As alcohol use is spiking nationwide, consider cutting back consumption during this time.
  • Find ways to date. Take a walk together, have a picnic on the back porch, cuddle in bed a little longer.

How can families cope well during the confinements brought on by the covid crisis?

  • For families with kids, regularly check in with each other to discuss emotions, behaviors, and feelings to promote emotional regulation and self-soothing.  Have a daily check-in time.
  • Touch and hug – snuggle. Pet the dog or cat.  Since we’re home more and not leaving and returning, families end up hugging less.  Making family hugs a daily priority.
  • Move more – play an active game. Go for walks or bike rides. Laugh.
  • Make the home as attractive and comfortable as possible. We want to look back on the period of time with a sense of fondness.
  • Get kids more involved in the daily functioning of the home. Promote a sense of ‘we’re all in this together.’
  • Have family meetings to plan, discuss, and problem solve.
  • Call and check on people that are even more isolated. Everyone needs someone.

Remember, corona virus is going to pass, and we’ll get through this.  If you, your relationship, or your family need help, we’re here for you.

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