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Love in the Time of Corona

March 18, 2020 | by Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, MS, LCPC

Three lessons to help you and your spouse to get through this difficult time.

A crisis can bring out both the best and worst in people. It can motivate one to be more caring, proactive, and resourceful. It can also lead to fear, self-absorption, and volatility.

With the corona quarantine impacting couples and families worldwide, we have an opportunity to use this time for the good, or to further destabilize an already precarious situation at home.

Here are three things I've learned from working with couples in crisis that can help empower your marriage and weather the coronavirus.

Don’t catastrophize, this too will pass.

When you have a fight with your spouse or get triggered, your whole picture of reality is clouded. Don't condemn your relationship to failure. Feelings change on the drop of a hat. Although you may feel hurt at this moment, just an hour before you may have felt connected and happy. Don't catastrophize and assume that the state you are in now is the fixed reality and incapable of changing. Life is always in flux.

Think back on your various moods and see how easily they can change over time. Now apply this to your marriage or the corona pandemic. While it may be a challenge right now, it is important to believe that just as other challenges have passed, this too will also eventually pass. If you're having a particularly challenging time being “locked up” with your spouse, take it one day at a time. Live in the present and don’t project into the future. There will be good days, and more challenging days. That is normal.

Gratitude for the good.

When a couple is in a negative space, it’s important to start shifting the focus on the positive. Even if there are considerable challenges with your relationship, there are undoubtedly good things as well. Meditate on those good things, appreciate them, and you’ll often see your relationship get to a better place sooner than you think.

This is especially important when you are in close quarters and getting agitated with each other. Appreciate that you aren’t alone, appreciate the good qualities your spouse has. When locked down at home, instead of sinking into pessimism and fear, focus five minutes every day on what you are grateful for. While you are stuck at home, be thankful for having shelter with heat and air conditioning. While you might not be able to go to the store, be thankful that there are food delivery services. While your kids aren’t at school, be thankful there are opportunities to learn online. Imagine, if this happened 20 years ago. It would have been much more of a challenge.

So, let’s count our blessings and as we focus on what we do have, for every breath, we begin to see what really matters in life, and release the countless petty arguments and the need to be constantly right.

Have fun.

When couples are stuck, having fun is an effective way to shift the energy. Find ways to have lighter moments together. Laugh together, be silly, anything that can break the tension. You are likely going to be together for a long time. You will annoy each other. It’s crucial to incorporate fun activities to get through the rough patches. (This is also true with your kids.)

While in quarantine, a lot of the regular outlets you typically take will not be an option. While the gym is closed, do a workout together online. Bake together. Play a board game with your kids. Don’t be glued to your TV or your phone for the latest updates. A few hours of disconnecting from the crisis won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things. It will only help you gain peace of mind and happiness, which are the true key to getting through this difficult time.

It’s amazing what the mind can do. Changing how you think about your situation and taking positive action will dramatically transform how you let crisis impact your relationship and your well-being. Stop catastrophizing, be grateful, and have fun. Not only will your mental health improve, your relationship will as well.

To get a copy of Rabbi Slatkin's New 60 Second Plan to a Happy and Healthy Marriage, click here: Enjoy Rabbi Slatkin’s brand new resource – a 2 Step Healing Meditation Formula – for one or two people, here at this link. It's a great way to stay open and positive when feeling anxious.


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