Dr. Ducharme’s Blog: Keeping your Marriage Strong while in Social Isolation March 30, 2020

March 31, 2020
Dr. Elaine Ducharme

Many of us have been practicing social isolation for the better part of 2 weeks. I have talked about setting a schedule for both adults and kids, getting exercise, limiting the news and generally taking good care of yourself both physically and emotionally.

What I have not discussed is how being together 24-7 can impact a relationship. For many, that kind of closeness may have worked well in the early days of their relationship. But, actually being stuck in the house with limited other activities can be very wearing on a couple. Like anything else of value, if you do not take care of your relationship it will not hold up as long or work as well. So, what can you do???

1.        Acknowledge that while you love each other, you may need some private time. That might mean going to a separate part of the house to listen to your “own “ music, taking a bath while you listen to a meditation, going on your own walk or even just taking a nap.

2.       Listen to each other’s concerns and validate each other’s feelings…even if they are not yours. So if one of you expresses worry about something, instead of just telling them to stop worrying, consider asking if there is anything you can do to help or see if together you can find some information to ease their concerns. Sometimes just listening is more than enough.

3.  Remember that touch has the power to heal. So, when you are sharing time during a movie      or tv show consider holding hands, touching in some way that is comforting to you both rather than always sitting at opposite ends of the couch. A kind touch can lower blood pressure and release  good hormones such as oxytocin, the love hormone and serotonin.  These chemicals enhance attachment.

4.  Cook together. Look through your cookbooks and try something new.

5. Remember to say I Love You to each other.

6. Go for walks or hikes together.

7. Limit the amount of alcohol you are drinking, especially if you are getting aggravated with each other. Alcohol rarely helps any feeling of anger get resolved.

8. Remember that you have a choice. You can use this time to reconnect and support each other. Or you can use this time to simply be annoyed. I choose the latter. And here is a fun idea…not mine…I read it somewhere…Identify an imaginary office mate that you can blame things on. So, when something goes wrong, you can say…Wow, Larry just keeps making a mess and we can’t figure out how to get him to stop. It might just get you to laugh, rather than blame each other. And, laughter, after all, is great medicine!

Take care, wash your hands and keep your hands away from your face!