Is it fair to say that the last 15 months have been stressful? Probably. For some, the stress has gone way beyond coronavirus to reach the most personal areas of life. Couples and families alike are struggling in their relationships as a result of spending so much time together without any breaks. As we slowly emerge, there are valuable lessons to learn from the experience.
As early as March 2020, media outlets began reporting on corona-related relationship troubles. Bloomberg reported a spike in Chinese divorce filings in the immediate aftermath of that country’s lockdowns. The BBC followed in April with a report on increased domestic violence.
In the modern world, we are not used to spending so much time with one another in closed quarters. Add the stress that comes from feeling threatened by a virus we know little about and you have a recipe for volatile relationships. So how do we move forward? By learning the lessons the last 15 months seek to teach us.
1. It is Easy to Take One Another for Granted
We inherently know that it is wrong to take one another for granted. Whether you are talking a marriage relationship, relationships among coworkers, or even relationships between parents and children, doing so leads to unmet expectations.
The truth is that taking one another for granted is easy to do. Even though we know we shouldn’t do it, we habitually fall into patterns that make it almost natural. Being stuck at home during the coronavirus crisis has made that all too apparent.
If you and your significant other are fighting over things like household chores and whose turn it is to walk the dog, you may be in a pattern of taking one another for granted. It might be time to step back and reevaluate your relationship in terms of mutual respect and appreciation.
2. Being Present Is More Than Being in the Same Room
Relationship counselors often talk about being present. The idea it is to be mindful of others when you are together. If we have learned anything from coronavirus it is the fact that being present is more than just being in the same room with another person. It is also engaging with that person on a meaningful level.
Being present doesn’t necessarily require deep conversations during every waking moment. It doesn’t always mean doing the same things. It does mean being ever cognizant of the other person, being respectful, and always being ready to engage whenever the opportunity arises.
3. Asking for Help Is Not a Bad Thing
The third relationship lesson coronavirus seeks to teach us is the fact that asking for help is not bad. Unfortunately, too many people struggle here. The counselors at Relationships & More in Rye, New York say that far too many people wait far too long to get help.
In some cases, it is a matter of not being willing to admit help is required. In other cases, it’s cultural. For example, Asian cultures tend to believe that couples should solve their marriage problems by themselves, within the confines of their own homes. They should not take their problems outside the home.
Only now are some cultures beginning to look at couple’s counseling and other outside therapies. Coronavirus has made it clear to them that keeping things at home may no longer be the best option.
Being locked down has forced many of us to see that our relationships need work. That’s not a bad thing, just so long as we learn the lessons and move forward. Even something like coronavirus can make relationships stronger over the long term.