We humans create a life that entails living with our better halves, happily spending our lives together—it is just that we don’t usually anticipate spending days and weeks confined in small spaces together. Most couples are used to doing their own thing outside of their house, even if that means having a tiresome day at the office, only to come back home and find solace in their spouse or partner. But in light of the coronavirus pandemic, there is no tiresome day waiting at the office for you to come back home and find solace in your companion. Your ‘work’ and ‘solace’ are both home, and now we need to figure out how to balance both.
After all, you ask, ‘What can couples do to make it work and keep the spark alive in a relationship even under the lockdown?’ (without killing each other)
We say, ‘Make hay while the sun shines’. Let’s treat this isolation as a free couples therapy. This is your moment to eliminate all worldly distractions, focus on the core of your relationship and keep the spark alive. Remember, there is enough angst in the world right now, your home and the people living in it will always be your solace.
Here are a few tips and fun activities that will help couples make the best of home isolation:
1. Don’t let the stress of the pandemic make you pessimistic
It is easy to fall prey to negative thinking with all that is going around in the world. Don’t let your love be a victim of this pandemic. When you’re locked in isolation with someone for a longtime, it is tempting to bring up wrongdoings committed by your partner in the past. Instead of always aligning a misdeed with your partner’s habitual behaviour, just break the chain and give them the benefit of doubt. It is a simple action-reaction: If you hold your bond in high regard, you will end up growing closer; whereas if you dwell on the negativity from the past and you’ll end up growing apart.
Practice the “mantra of ten”. If you are tempted to say something sarcastic or negative, no matter how justified you feel, just count till ten in your mind and then ask yourself, “Do I still want to say this?”, If yes, by all means go ahead; but it is very likely you wouldn’t want to.
2. Practice conscious communication
In unsettling times like these, it’s natural to read and talk about the negative news cycle and depressing social media stories every now and then. But, make a conscious decision to stop indulging in it anymore. The things you talk about with your companion are the vibes you will manifest at home and in your live-in relationship. You might as well be using all this quality time having deep heartfelt conversations, frank exchange of thoughts and emotions. You will rediscover all things fun in your personal space that attracted you to him/ her in the first place. Read the next tip to understand how to precisely do this and communicate effectively.
3. Resort to creative & fun ways to hold deep conversations
Here are our top 3 favourite activities that would make couples effortlessly communicate in the most creative ways:
The drinking game; inspired by the Jonas Brothers’ ‘Chasing Happiness’ Documentary. A simple drinking game that the brothers say got them much closer to each other after years of being disbanded.
All you and your partner would each need is a bowl filled with questions for the other person and some shots. One person can answer a question and the other can rate how honest the response was. You basically take a shot if your partner feels you didn’t answer honestly. It’ll be fun to watch your partner call the shots this time, we promise!
Play a round of ‘We are not really strangers’; a card game that focuses on developing meaningful connections between two people. The three levels of curated questions are thoughtful and great to learn new things about each other. If you don’t have this card game, you could refer to the questions online and make those cards yourself. What’s amazing about making it yourself is that you could also toss in a few extra questions, the ones you’ve always wanted to ask but felt it was never the right time.
Ask each other the 36 questions created by Arthur Aron; this is by far our most favourite bonding exercise on the list. So good that it was also featured on The New York Times. The website lays down 36 questions that make couples communicate and understand each other deeply based on their answers. Just grab a phone, open the link, pour some wine and get started.
While you play either of these interactive games to strengthen your bond, just remember that good communication is not just about speaking, but predominantly about active listening. So, be a good listener.
4. Let the endorphins flow together
Remember how workouts made you feel back in the day? The sense of productivity you got after finishing a killer session at SoulCycle or doing pilates or even strength training.
That’s endorphins doing their thing. They pump up feelings of intense excitement within you. Just because you’re homebound doesn’t mean you don’t require those feelings. If anything, you require it even more. The good thing about being in a live-in relationship is that you have a workout partner at all times. You can sign up for an online couple workout class; there are so many out there. Just make sure y’all are streaming it together everyday.
5. Respect each other’s working space
Couples should by all means respect each other’s professional needs, space and requirements. It is also suggested that working from different rooms or spaces during certain parts of the day makes you achieve this. The last thing you want to argue about is your partner’s loud phone calls, distracting video calls or any annoying working habit that messes with your head. Just establish a time and space to fulfill individual work obligations without making the other suffer. Come back to a shared space after achieving your daily goals.
6. Share the workload
Be thoughtful. You're at home which means there is a higher usage of all household items like utensils, cutlery, glasses and so on. Tidying up feels like a forceful task if it’s imposed on just one person. Washing up, cooking all meals, running laundry are a few prominent chores couples should share equally. There is a sense of kindness in being mindful of our own responsibilities and sharing the load equally with our better-halves. It’s just another sweet and simple display of teamwork and understanding.
7. Find creative ways to spend time with each other
Time is on your side; chart out simple and special activities everyday to make the most of it. You could still do your weekend date nights. Take turns cooking each other’s favourite meals. You could dive into a trove of pictures from vacations or celebrations that you both never had the time to revisit. Looking back at shared memories is known to help uplift people’s spirits and make them realise how far they have come together. You could organise a Netflix marathon with some popcorn and wine. You could write down one thing you liked about each other everyday and exchange all the notes towards the end of the week over a nice dinner. You could play games together, whether it is a classic deck of cards, board games or your favorite console. Just find cute ways to make your partner happy. Basically do anything that evokes feelings of fun, laughter and a sense of partnership.
The quarantine period is going to be a period of great growth in relationships. We hope our advice brings you and your partner closer to each other in this period of isolation. We also hope you are able to focus on the upsides of being quarantined with the person you love. There is so much to be grateful for; you and your partner’s well-being tops the list.
At the end, we’ll still only say, ‘Make hay while the sun shines’