Reigniting Your Relationship Spark During a Pandemic
The pandemic has done one of two things when it comes to relationships. It’s either brought couples closer together or driven them further apart. When a relationship is already challenged and you’re forced to stay in the same house together for months at a time — without all of the distractions like going out, eating at restaurants, kids’ activities, travel, outdoor hobbies, and get-togethers — you have no choice but to deal with these issues, one way or another.
The pandemic has taken a toll on many relationships, and if this is you, it doesn't mean your relationship is doomed. Oftentimes when life happens, our relationships get the blame.
The pandemic definitely tested my marriage with my husband of almost three years. Here are three things that I've done in my marriage to reignite the spark that has us falling in love all over again, despite having little kids, homeschooling insanity, loss of loved ones due to COVID, and health scares.
Focus on Connecting with Myself First
I was running on empty and my self-care had completely fallen by the wayside. I was exhausted, mentally, physically, and emotionally, and unfortunately, I ended up taking it out on my husband. It’s easy to do that when you see someone all the time. Once I had awareness of my behavior and how I was showing up by not being the best partner to my husband, I prioritized my self-care. This included meditating, journaling, working out, hanging out with my friends (socially distanced), reading, napping, etc.
"We are conditioned to believe that once a relationship is in trouble, you should focus all of your energy there. This isn’t true."
This behavior is counterintuitive to how we are typically taught to behave in relationships. We are conditioned to believe that once a relationship is in trouble, you should focus all of your energy there. This isn’t true. It’s important to take a step back, understand what your needs are, how you’re showing up, and then give yourself those things so that you’re not 100% reliant on your partner for managing your stress levels.
The space also allows you to reflect on what is truly important to you and where your relationship fits in. Once I got some time for myself, I was much more open to nurturing my relationship.
Create a Connection with My Husband in My Mind
I wanted to feel connected to my husband but my thoughts about him and the marriage were anything but connection-inducing. This is where self-coaching really helped me understand how my mindset was getting in the way of the relationship I wanted.
In order to feel love and connection toward our partners, we need to first think loving and connecting thoughts. So, I journaled all of the thoughts that I had about my husband and relationship and started questioning what was true and what was false. I realized that I was making up a lot of stories in my head, and the reality was that I did love my husband dearly and he loved me as well. I then reframed my negative thoughts and I started to think more positive thoughts on purpose, like, “My husband is such a great partner,” “I love having fun with my husband,” “He loves me deeply,” etc.
I chose to focus on these thoughts more often than the negative thoughts — this was a game-changer for our marriage.
Create New Relationship Values
I carved out some time to imagine the kind of marriage I wanted moving forward and created values that I wanted to embody in our relationship. The values that I came up with were fun, friendship, and grace. I wanted to have tons of fun with my partner, deepen our friendship to the next level, and give myself and him grace whenever we’d disagree about something.
I reminded myself of these values every day (and continue to do), so that when life gets busy and the next wave of the pandemic strikes, I know that, no matter what, I will show up as the partner who wants to have fun with her husband, who’s going be there for her partner, and extend grace every time.
Because of these three steps, my husband and I are no longer bickering every day. Although the pandemic is still challenging and life has its ups and downs, we feel closer than ever before. I told him just recently that I feel like I’m falling in love all over again. The best part is, I didn’t need my partner to do any of this work with me. He started to show up differently automatically when I started to show up differently for myself and for our relationship.
If you’re wanting to reignite the spark in your relationship, I’d encourage you to first focus on reigniting the spark within yourself. Your relationship will be full of possibilities when you love yourself first.