How COVID Ultimately Saved My Marriage
Photo Credit: Everton Vila/Unsplash
When you’re in a long-term relationship or marriage and living together, there’s a little dance that is performed by both partners. In my marriage, my husband cooks and I do the dishes. I fold the laundry and he does bedtime for our little toddler. There’s a subconscious and undiscussed give-and-take that happens. This is not the same thing as gender roles — my husband and I are all about treating each other as equals, capable of taking on any task or role.
In addition to the give-and-take, we had also unintentionally become accustomed to brushing things off and sweeping our annoyances with each other under the rug. It was easy to do that pre-pandemic because we had space apart from each other during the day due to our commute or were distracted by keeping ourselves busy with activities, restaurant dinners, and other social gatherings. Sound familiar?
'Here I go again, this will be my second divorce.' I knew something needed to change, and since I was the common denominator between both of my marriages, I knew the change had to come from me.
With COVID quarantine lockdown and our two boys, there was literally nowhere to go, except from room to room. All of the things that we were sweeping or brushing away came to a head when my husband sat me down and said, “I’m not happy in our marriage and things need to change, or I’m done.” My jaw dropped; tears ensued.
I’m a relationship coach. I thought to myself, “How is it possible for us to have relationship issues when I’m coaching my clients on their own relationships and I'm moving forward with divorce?” My mind then jumped to, “Here I go again, this will be my second divorce.” I knew something needed to change, and since I was the common denominator between both of my marriages, I knew the change had to come from me.
Here are the four steps I took to rebuild connection with my husband, with plans now to renew our wedding vows in September 2021.
We all know listening is important in effective communication. But how often are we actually listening? I stopped listening to respond but rather started listening to understand — understand where my partner was coming from, what his needs were, what were the things I was doing from his perspective that were causing us to disconnect. Honestly, this was the hardest part of the process. It required me to zip it and not become defensive or critical of him, which I had been doing.
A relationship takes two people, and it was time for both of us to step up to the plate and own how we weren’t being the kind of partners we wanted to be. But since we don’t have control over other people’s thoughts and actions, I decided to go all in and own my role in the disconnect. I started thinking, feeling, and acting like the kind of woman who was in her ideal marriage. I started to snap less, be more patient with my husband, and in general be kinder to him.
Take Care of Our Own Needs
One of the challenges many couples face is that they expect their partner to fill all of their needs. I already knew not to expect my husband to fulfill all of my needs, but the reciprocal of that wasn’t true for my partner. I encouraged both of us to intentionally carve out time for ourselves and pursue separate hobbies and interests. My husband decided to pick golf back up and I’ve been getting back to yoga and running. This has helped us fill our own buckets up and take the pressure off of each other.
Get Professional Help
As a coach, I know how important it is to have another set of eyes and ears to manage our own thoughts so that we can have a fulfilling and meaningful life filled with love and abundance. It was clear to me that I still had some work to do, but I had mental blocks that I wasn’t aware of and was repeating patterns unbeknownst to me. So, I hired a coach to help me manage my mind and figure out how to stop getting in my own way of self-sabotaging my relationship.
The truth is, COVID was a blessing in disguise for our marriage. It brought to the surface some of the things that my husband and I had both been avoiding subconsciously. Instead of staying disconnected, we both decided to work on ourselves, and as a result, we’ve become closer than ever before. We are planning on reviewing our wedding vows next fall. You’re invited!