How to Maintain Healthy Relationships During a Covid-19 Era03 Jun 2020
Just over 3 months ago, the UK was hit with one of the most devastating epidemics that people have ever witnessed in their lifetimes. Coronavirus has since then perpetuated immense global dismay, and has also inevitably changed the way we live and coexist in society as we know it. With almost every aspect of our lives impacted by this invisible virus, there is no doubt that it would have one of the greatest impact on our relationships.
We went from being able to socialize outside the house, with our friends, family, colleagues, teachers, mentors, and all those who live outside of our household, to being quarantined and limited to socializing with only those living under the same roof as us. This has made things to say in the least, a challenge for each and every one of us at some point.
While there is so much to say about all the different types of relationships, in this article, I will focus particularly on Covid-19’s impact on marital relationships, as I carry along in this series. This one has definitely been an adaptation to the times we currently face, nonetheless, we can still reflect and learn about how to manage during such a difficult and unprecedented time in our lives.
The reality is, that are so many different marriages out there, and this will not speak to the nuances of each and every situation. Nor have I by any means presented an exhaustive list. But I will try and shed some light on tips that can strengthen relationships between spouses, and by all means can be applied differently to the other relationships we have.
How do we communicate now that we are all home 24-7? This aspect is probably the most crucial one in order to maintain a happy environment. The short answer, is to maintain connection. If you and your spouse both work from home, it is worth considering working in different areas, and perhaps finding a time in the day to re-connect over a cuppa, have a chat, or even take your lunch break together. This can help break up the day, give you both time apart, and also something to talk about, as well as a chance to miss each other!
In some cases, where bigger families are living together which include children, parents, or extended family, this can be a challenge. While the separate working areas can still apply, you may want to find something different to do together, as you may be doing these activities altogether as a family. The same principle would apply, where you can try putting together a routine that allows you time for yourself, and also time with the family, as well as your spouse.
Now that we are in the summer months, it can be a blessing as well as a challenge! With days being sunnier, depending on your living space, you may find it harder given the heat, or dealing with other issues that the summer weather brings such as hay fever. This may be the perfect time to find some time to do some outdoorsy things together, such as having a picnic. Find something you both like to do or set a goal that you would like to achieve this month and find some time to do it together. With the recent passing of the month of Ramadan, this may be a good opportunity to carry on the spiritual high and continue to make time for acts of worship together. This can be praying, reciting du’a or a’maal, listening to a lecture, reading and discussing Qur’an, or anything else that can help you both spend meaningful time together, while getting closer to God. As long as the connection and quality time is there, anything you do together will be beneficial towards strengthening the relationship.
In some cases, you and your spouse might be key workers. On the other end of the spectrum, where you both may not see each other very often given the nature of your jobs. You may be a stay at home parent while your spouse is a key worker. You may find that these times bring you further apart with even less time together.
Connection is key here, and if you are able to communicate meaningfully, you will find that this connection will come naturally. Technology can play a pivotal role here. Facetime, Whatsapp, Zoom, any platform that will allow your use of video-calling, or texting, can help by allowing you to connect despite the distance. We live in a meme generation, where pictures are really worth 1000 words. All of these tools can be used to keep in touch especially during these times.
While this may be old fashioned, do not underestimate the power of a written letter, an email, a card, a note, an act of kindness whether it is cooking a meal, clearing up, buying something special can all have such a great impact towards our marital relationships especially now.
Life in the Covid-19 era is definitely one for the history books. And its impact on relationships is limitless. However, as long as we can maintain our communication with our spouses, this will ensure a strong and consistent connection throughout these very difficult times.