My husband retired in January. Things have not been like I expected. First, my mother’s funeral was the day after he retired. Then came coronavirus. So far we have cancelled two vacations, losing money on both. At the same time, my engineer husband is closely observing the way I have managed our home. And he has suggestions. Many suggestions.
Our love languages also create a problem that we have to be mindful about. My husband’s primary love language is quality time … which is currently all the time. Out of the five love languages, that’s at the bottom for me. Even more challenging, my love language … gifts … is at his bottom.
So I order him gifts online, and he follows me around the house. Did I mention he is also making suggestions?
I looked for some support for this and found a good article in the New York Times: “Welcome to Marriage During the Coronavirus.” Author Jennifer Senior interviewed therapist Esther Perel who said some stylistic differences may be relevant to how well we are getting along with our spouses:
- How we get information in a crisis: On a continuum, are you a news junkie/binger or do you say, “enough is enough” and turn off the source, be it TV or internet.
- How consumed we get by the situation: Are you preoccupied with risk or focused on maintaining a normal life?
- How you are handling your time: Are you structured and proactive in dealing with your days or are you passive and fatalistic?
Happily, my husband and I only differ on getting info. As a former journalist, I love input. (It’s my top strength in the Strength Finder.) But I am going his way and being very intentional about getting information only at set times.
Time magazine also got a list from couples’ therapists for getting along. Click here to read it. And here are my new ideas:
- Pray together and do Bible study. Take the time to build your relationship with God. If you are listening, God will help to strengthen your marriage rather than tearing it down.
- Stop criticizing each other. Viewing each other with compassion is truly a giant step. The late great Cokie Roberts once wrote: “You can tell the quality of your marriage by the number of teeth marks in your tongue.”
- Spend some time apart every day.
- Ramp up your own contemplative practice and mindfulness. It will help you stay calm enough to not be reactive.
- Laugh. If you haven’t laughed hard by 7 p.m., watch, read or listen to something funny.