Our exact timelines will vary, but we’ve all been in this for a while now. Quarantine, lockdown, shelter-in-place, or whatever you want to call the new normal we’ve been living. Depending on where you live, you could be pivoting towards opening up and going back to something resembling life “before.” For some of us, life will continue to unfold in restricted, socially-distant reality. We hope that over the last weeks and months, you’ve been able use some of your time at home to invest in your relationship. As you prepare to step back into the hustle and bustle of life, we encourage you to reflect on the things you want to take with you and carry on from this time. Yes, we know there are probably many things you’d like to leave behind, but there has been some good that has come out of staying home and slowing down your pace of life.
Simplicity in dates
Remember how, just a few months ago, date night seemed impossible to get figured out. You had so many decisions to make and logistics to coordinate. Find a sitter, decide on a restaurant or activity, contemplate the struggle to find parking, or the expense of taking a Lyft. And then- what to wear?? And all the work that goes into getting yourself and your partner ready to go and your kids into a state that the sitter can manage. All to feel exhausted by the time you got home. There were so many options back then, and while we may view it as a luxury now, all those decisions and details could sometimes cloud the real purpose of the date.
In quarantine, dates became a different kind of challenging. How do you make them happen when there is no sitter, there are no places to go, and we’ve already been spending all of our time together anyway? We figured it out though – and in doing so, discovered the magic of simplicity. A picnic in the backyard, cooking a new recipe together, watching a movie snuggled on the couch with your favorite theater snacks. We got creative with our limited options, and that allowed us to focus on and rediscover the importance of intentional time together – truly being present and enjoying each other’s company, instead of just sitting in the same room. So as we move forward into the next phase of this, remember: dates don’t have to be big, stressful events. Just be intentional with your time together and make it about really connecting with each other.
Asking more than just, “How are you?”
Pre-COVID-19, it was easy to ask your partner, “How are you?” or “How was your day?” and expect a simple answer. There certainly could have been more going on in your partner’s world, but we maybe weren’t very diligent about checking in and pushing deeper to see how they’re actually doing. Frankly, some of us don’t always have the right words to ask the questions that get us there, or we don’t know how to answer beyond the “I’m good” or “Doing fine” responses.
Quarantine has prompted many of us to come to terms with the fact that some days, we’re actually not good. We’re not fine. And that’s okay. The lesson comes when we discover the importance of being able to express that to your partner, even if you don’t use the perfect language to get you there. Share your feelings and inquire about each other’s emotional state. There likely were days where you or your partner needed a little extra hug, or space, or something different because of feelings. And there will likely be days ahead in your relationship that require something similar. It shouldn’t take a pandemic to encourage us to share our feelings and emotions with each other, but if this strange time gave you a little extra practice, take that and keep exercising those habits.
So as we begin the slow transition back to a more “normal” pace of life, consider the things you’ve learned during your time at home, and how you might carry them forward to keep your relationship strong. There is still a lot of uncertainty we’re facing- what will our lives look like weeks or months from now? We don’t know. What we do know is this: this won’t be the last challenge you’ll face together, but you’ve proven you can support each other through the most unpredictable of circumstances, becoming stronger as individuals and as a couple. We hope you’ll take that confidence with you, too.