With all the changes in our lives due the coronavirus and quarantine, our relationships are going to feel the strain. You are likely going to have more conflicts with your partner, simply by being around them more often. You also have the opportunity to deepen your relationship.

In difficult times, our relationships can get stronger

To really take advantage of this time, I want to invite you to take three steps to improve your relationship while in quarantine.

Increase the good stuff

The Gottman Institute, one of the leading sources of research and intervention about relationships, says we want five or more positive interactions for every negative interaction. Keeping it that way leads to a more stable and happy relationship, and reduces the likelihood of divorce.

Find a couple small things to do for your spouse daily:

• Leave each other kind notes
• Take care of a chore
• Ask about their day
• Hug for 15-20 seconds
• Dress up and have a date

Make a fight plan

It’s going to happen. Plan ahead for what you’re going to do in an emotional fight, keeping in mind that your previous strategies may not be options.

Plan for:
• Who gets what space if you need a break
• How long you’ll take a break
• Coping ahead, or making time to cope before you are even upset
• Checking in each day so you don’t go to bed angry

For more specific ideas on conflict, check out my colleague Connor McClenahan’s video on how to resolve an argument – he walks you through a step by step approach to hearing one another well and resolving the real underlying issue. You can find it on our Covid-19 resources page.

Engage in couples counseling

Whether your relationship is feeling tumultuous right now or you recognize that quarantine is a good time to brush up on your conflict resolution skills, couples counseling can help. Couples counseling can build on your existing strengths, help you grow in those areas of difficulty, and provide a place to flush out any disagreements that you struggled to come to a resolution on.

At Here Counseling, we are still providing in-office sessions and can also provide couples counseling over telehealth, so whatever your comfort-level is with leaving the house, we can still meet you where you’re at. Reach out today to see a stronger marriage during a difficult time.

Ashley Holcomb, PsyD
Ashley Holcomb, PsyD

I help individuals and couples overcome the patterns that keep them from experiencing closeness in relationships.