With all the sheltering in place we’ve been doing – you’d think that our relationships would naturally be benefiting from all that time together. Proximity is generally a good thing as it’s easier to see each other, but working at home and doing regular life things at home without any breaks can take its toll on even the healthiest relationships.
At first, sheltering in place was scary but kind of fun for some people. Many described it as an extended snow day. But now that sheltering in place is prolonged with most people working from home – the newness is wearing off and the whole darn thing is wearing on relationships.
People are reporting social boredom from not being able to hang out with their friends. Many find it difficult to find a quiet workspace that is separate from their relaxation space. And precarious world events are always in the back of our minds.
As a couple how is your relationship being affected by spending so much time together? Are you experiencing social boredom from not being able to hang out with your friends? Have you been able to adapt to a new work-life balance? How are you responding to precarious world events?
Here are 7 tips to help you use this extra time to take your relationships to a whole other level.
How to Improve Your Relationships While Working At Home
1. Talk Stuff Out
Ask each other what is working well and what needs improvement. Try to listen with an open mind and lay down any defensiveness. Go over household chores and see if any adjustments need to be made in the division of labor.
2. Make Some Goals Individually and Together
In strong relationships, goal planning leads to motivation and creates hope for the future.
Ask yourselves… in the next 3 months what are some personal goals and goals as a couple that you could achieve? Have you been wanting to take an online exercise class? Learn a musical instrument? Learn a foreign language? Create a Tik-Tok video?
Even though you have to postpone travel for now – you can make your future travel all the more meaningful if you research the places you’d like to visit. Check out travel blogs or Facebook pages of people who have been where you’d like to go.
Learning even the basics of a foreign language can make your eventual trip more enjoyable. You can find inexpensive or free courses online. Set aside one night a week for “Night School” where you share something you learned about the country you want to visit with your spouse.
Don’t stop at just the facts – tell them why you find it exciting. Maybe there is a particular piece of art that you’d love to see in person – share with your spouse why that piece is special to you.
For an at-home date – order food for delivery from a place that specializes in cuisine from the country you want to visit. Set a pretty table and enjoy a leisurely meal.
3. Talk About World Events
The great thing about living in today’s world is that we can get news at any time. But instant news can become an unnecessary distraction – especially if you want to immediately share the news with your partner who is attempting to focus on work.
Figure out a time that works best for the two of you to talk about world events. Maybe it’s at lunch or during a coffee break – find a time that works best for both of you. It is important to talk and process what is going on but be considerate of the timing.
Educate yourselves on the topics that most concern you. Get knowledge whether thru reading or documentaries, etc… so you are equipped to be a part of the change you want to see.
Brainstorm ways the two of you can have a positive impact on the world around you. Where can you volunteer as a couple to help promote social change? Are there causes or organizations you would like to support financially?
4. Transition, Transition, Transition
If you find it hard to start work in the morning or stop thinking about work in the evening , consider developing an intentional transition.
For example, in the morning when you get up – light a candle, do some stretching, eat, shower….then blow the candle out as your intentional start of the workday.
When you are done with work you could do a few household chores (vacuuming, dusting etc….) as your intentional transition of ending your work day. And then light the candle again when it is time to transition into relaxing.
As a couple – it’s fun to choose a couple of theme songs for your daily transitions. One that you play every day to kick off your work and then another fun song at the end of your day. Spontaneous dance parties are encouraged!!!
5. Shower, Change Your Clothes, Brush, Floss, and Repeat!!
Keeping yourself fresh smelling is an attractive quality in a partner. Make it part of your routine.
It’s wonderful to be so comfortable with each other that there isn’t a need to dress to impress but make sure you are not slipping from comfortable into sloppy.
BTW -if you are having regular video meetings – iron a few shirts that you keep on hand so you look professional even though you are wearing it with sweats!
6. Has Your Bedroom Become Your Office?
Unless you have a fantasy about sex at the office, a home office in your bedroom has the potential to interfere with your sex life.
Figure out a way to make your office stuff less intrusive. If it’s not practical to put things out of sight every day – then try throwing a blanket or a beach towel over it so it is not a distraction. Sex and sleep will be better when you create a work/love-life boundary.
Enjoy physical closeness with your partner. Many people right now are physically lonely due to social distancing. Take advantage of the fact that you and your partner have been breathing the same air and cuddle up! Kiss often! Keep your sex lives a priority.
7. Create a Schedule
Although we love a weekend where there is nothing scheduled, to be successful given our current circumstances, our work from home days require more routine. In fact, people are often more productive when there is a routine.
Each of you take time to think about an ideal schedule and then share it with each other. See where there is overlap and also see where there is a potential for conflict and then figure out some compromises.
The schedule is suppose to be a tool to help you stay on track, but if it becomes overly routine or difficult, adjust it so it works for the two of you.