I heard someone joke the other day that two professions will be in big demand once this pandemic is over… doctors to deliver all the “corona babies” and divorce lawyers.
I gave a little chuckle, before I saw Karen shoot me the stink eye from across the room.
She’s given me that look a bit more often over the last couple of weeks.
You see, even though I consider us a strong couple, we have struggled with all this extra “quality time” together.
Little things we never noticed about each other suddenly can’t be ignored and grate on our nerves.
Just the other day, we were sitting down to watch a movie with some popcorn when I noticed her looking at me sideways.
“Is something wrong?” I asked.
“Have you always chewed so loudly?” she replied sharply.
I held my tongue, knowing the smart-mouthed reply I had come up with in my head could put me in the dog house for the next week.
So instead I just answered, “sorry, honey.” And tried to chew more softly for the rest of the night.
I knew Karen wasn’t trying to be mean.
We’ve just been stuck in this house together for so long, patience is running thin.
If you’re quarantining with a spouse, I’m sure you can relate.
Being together all the time has made the little quirks of our loved ones more pronounced.
Before the pandemic, we’d just brush them off, ignore them, or maybe not even notice them at all.
But now, under high-stress and constant togetherness, these little idiosyncrasies are like nails on a chalkboard and our feelings about them bubble to the surface.
With over 90% of the U.S. population now under stay-home orders, couples are finding their relationships tested.
We’ve both been a bit on edge lately.
To keep us from getting at each other’s throats, we’ve set up some house rules.
First, if one of us has to take a work call, we need to take it in a room with a door.
It just doesn’t work if the call is in a central location, like the kitchen or dining room, as it prevents the other person from doing the things they need to get done.
Also, we’ve set a schedule with walking Ellie.
I do a walk with her alone, then Karen takes her, and at the end of the day, we walk her together.
This way, we both get outside a couple of times each day and we also get some precious alone time.
Now, there are times during the day where we’re just on each other’s nerves.
We’ve been together long enough to recognize when the other just needs some space.
When that happens, we both retreat to a different section of the house.
After an hour or two, we’ll come back together with cooler heads and a better attitude.
Look, these are tough times for everyone.
And many relationships are struggling as a result.
Try to find a way for you each to get some alone time throughout the day.
And be more mindful of how your actions are affecting your spouse.
I don’t want any of you heading to a divorce lawyer at the end of this nightmare.
Practice patience, forgive often, and take many deep breaths and hopefully we’ll all make it through.
Stay safe out there.