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Is the lockdown affecting your marriage?

By Dr Sharmila Banwat
May 22, 2020 16:00 IST
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The burden of household chores, stress from long working hours, kids and lack of personal space and privacy has led to conflicts says Dr Sharmila Banwat.

Relying on your husband or partner for everything is impractical. Photograph: Courtesy Flickr/Wikimedia Commons

Can a good relationship be identified?

Turns out, there are numbers of human behavioural pattern which helps to know if a person is in a healthy relationship or not.

A healthy relationship demands effort from both partners, sacrifice, compromise, and commitment.

According to psychology professor Elaine Hatfield, the love which we feel early in a relationship is different than what we feel later.

Currently, couples around the world are forced to spend time together due to the pandemic.

Apart from all the confusion, fear and anxiety that comes with the virus, there are other problems that couples have been experiencing.

The burden of household chores, stress from long working hours, kids and lack of personal space and privacy has led to conflicts among couples along with depression, anxiety, stress, and sleeplessness.

For couples who are living together and struggling to cope, here are some tips to bear in mind:

1. Self respect

It is important to treat yourself with respect

Nurturing yourself is the first step. This includes self-care.

Relying on your husband or partner for everything is impractical. It is mandatory to remove time for self-care and nourish yourself.

2. Meditate 

This is essential not only to tackle relationship problems but to deal with the current situation.

It helps to strengthen the mind and will power.

It will help you to keep yourself calm.

Mental fitness is of utmost importance to keep your mind clear, strong, and deal with any situation bravely.

3. Connection 

You must seek the source of connection like a friend or relative. A person with whom you are close and with whom you can share your feelings or simply talk to refresh your mind.

4. Let your feelings flow 

We have a habit of restricting our feelings and this denial frustrates us a lot. 

Allow yourself to feel whatever comes to your mind.

Understand this emotion by validating it.

5. Maintain a journal

The lockdown has given ample time to be indoors.

It may be a good idea to start writing a journal about how you feel each passing day and if there is any difference in the way you feel about yourself and this relationship.

This will also help in contemplating your future and past which can eventually give a solution to your current problem/s.

6. Mutual understanding

Sit down with partner, talk and discuss how a problem can be solved.

Seek understanding and co-operation from the spouse.

Create and share a calendar of tasks which you both need to do. Let the work be divided between the two of you.

If required jot down, make a plan, and ensure that it is followed.

Understanding your partner’s side is equally important.

One may probably discover a plethora of experiences and a range of emotions. Slowly the partner will be become more receptive and be open to sharing his/her feelings with you.

7. Give space

As you are spending time together than ever, ensure that you give an equal amount of space to each other.

If both of you are working, then create two different working spaces if possible.

You can work in two different rooms, and then once you have finished work for the day, it will feel like you're coming back to your home after office.

This will help in giving space to each other and also get your work done.

It is normal to need some 'me' time when you are stuck at home; creating different workspaces will help you in doing that.

8. Avoid criticism

If you are a couple who is used to spend most of the days away from each other then you are surely going to get on each other’s nerves.

In some relations criticism is legitimate but in others, it is mostly used as a defense to hide one’s fears and faults.

In most cases, criticism can be damaging in relationships.

So if you want to see change and expect co-operation from your partner, then refrain from criticism, especially verbal attack.

Try using other means of addressing your concerns in a positive way.

9. Resolve issues

Arguments, disagreements, and fights do happen in every relation. But what is important is to come back to each other every time after every argument or fight.

It is human nature to react to everything which eventually leads to arguments.

If this happens frequently, attempt to compose yourself first and then come back to your partner and make them understand your point patiently and simultaneously understand their points too.

Such an understanding among couples will build healthy relationships.

Let us use this lockdown period to be affectionate with each other. Seeing the same person every day and not having social life like earlier can be tedious for some. But if this is taken positively as many couples complain about their partner not giving them quality time and now they have realised that this is once in a lifetime opportunity of spending a long period together.

We don’t know what future awaits. As crores of people struggle to deal with pandemic outdoors, we are lucky to be indoors with our families and loved ones.

So, instead of getting bored or tense with each other and complaining about this lockdown, it is time to start spending this lovable time doing things you two will remember in the future.

Dr Sharmila Banwat is clinical psychologist at Nanavati Super Specialty Hospital. She can be contacted on ga@rediff-inc.com.

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