An article in The Straits Times on 27 May 2021, talked about a study of over 600 married women who had a reduction in marital satisfaction during and after the circuit breaker in Singapore which had tightened measures during that time. This was correlated to more housework as family members stayed home, strained by the housework gap imbalance borne by women. Along with a high percentage of spouses who saw their incomes shrink, conflicts over work-from-home arrangements and tensions of an uncertain pandemic situation definitely contribute to more unhappiness between a couple.
When the vows of “in good times and in bad” were proclaimed, most probably didn’t see adding a prolonged pandemic in that equation. With potential waves of the pandemic and tightening measures, with no clear end in sight, how does one tide through working-from-home arrangements and stay-home measures with your partner without wanting to call it quits?
A few tips around creating spaces (physical and emotional), seeing each other through a different lens, and coming out stronger together.
Having Your Own Space Physically (Even For Small Spaces)
Section out a part of your house where you’d need to work or do your own thing as yours, and an area for your partner. Your area is yours only, and your partner’s only. If space is an issue where you can’t block a room or a section off, then choose an area on the table or a specific chair. Mental markers like these are important, to allow each person to ‘switch mode’ and feel present when at work or working on your business. If you have kids, it teaches the kids visually when to recognize that a particular parent is in the “office” and cannot immediately respond.
Having Your Own Space Within The Day – Take One For The Team
I found this tip often overlooked. Creating space on the daily schedule that is solely yours or your partner’s. So you take turns holding the fort (getting meals, chores, taking care of the children) while one partner gets a portion of the daily schedule as theirs. When it’s time for your slot, you get to do whatever you want – working through some tough work challenges or just completely chilling out to rejuvenate yourself. And then you switch when it’s your partner’s allocated personal time. This creates so mental and emotional space, which allows each person to get through some personal agenda items without distractions.
Role Play – Not Just In The Bedroom
Well, it’s always a good one for partners adding a variety of experiences to the bedroom. That said, I meant in all different aspects. How to split the chores up in a game? If you have a date night at home, how do you role play as you ‘travel’ to the dinner location? It sounds silly and a simple act of going through the motions, but these are part of creating memories and playing together with your partner, in a time when humor and play is much more needed than ever.
Start Something Together
Start something small together. Nothing major likes an entire house renovation that can add more stressors on either party. Something small like a plant corner, or decluttering one bookshelf, or trying to groom your pet yourself (safety please!). A joint painting or learning something together. You are in the same space together a lot more nowadays, how can you grow together?
Remember, while the way you experience stress and uncertainty is different from your partner, both of you are facing pressure, anxiety, unknowns in various areas of your life. It is ok to share them with each other, and not have immediate solutions. It helps to know that your partner hasn’t ‘suddenly’ turned more annoying, recognize that you and your partner are really doing the best you can given what you have now. Stay safe and keep learning and growing within your partnership, and you will see yourselves emerge stronger together through the pandemic.
Andrea is the founder and owner of Athena Rising, and is a certified Sex, Love, and Relationship Coach and works with individuals and couples around topics of love and sexual wellness. She uses a variety of coaching methodologies, mind-body rewiring, sexual embodiment practices, and jade yoni eggs.
Join her for workshops or work with her on 1:1 private coaching for women or couples, group coaching or hire her for private workshops.
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