These times are new realities for many couples, as they try to cope with the pressures of self-isolation. For many couples, a ‘typical day’ includes either going to work, volunteering, social engagement activities such as hobbies, interests or physical activities. Also in our typical day, we fit in time to experience ‘intentional’ connection time with our partners in life. We often might plan intentional date nights weekly, and inbetween, spend intentional periods at the beginning or end of our day connecting with each other. Every couple has their own recipe and ingredients for their relationship.
Relationships have their own structure and ‘groove’. When couples experience a form of imposed ‘shared space’ for prolonged periods of time, that takes them out of the typical structure, of their relationships and meaningful ways of connection. The unbalancing of this imposed change can be stressful and very unfamiliar. The stress of imposed shared space for couples was evident in China during their periods of isolations as a result of the COVID-19. According to Emily Webber from the Daily Mail from the UK “Divorce requests in China reportedly rose significantly after couples spent ‘too much time together at home during coronavirus self-isolation, according to register offices across the country.”
Although imposed shared space and relational isolation feels like restrictive ‘lemons’ for some couples; how can you make relational ‘lemonade’ during these times and ‘opportunities to connect in new and creative ways?
Here are some ways to enhance and even deepen your relational connection while at home:
Play board games. Couples that play together stay together. Board games or card games keep you connected and engaged with each other. They provide meaning fun opportunity so that you are doing something more than to do just “hanging out” feeling bored. Have a variety of different games to choose from such as trivia, strategy games to the childhood games from your pasted that you loved!
Cook together. Find recipes online for new things to cook that you’ve never tried to make at home before. Use ‘Instacart’. Order your groceries together on your app and get them sent to your home. Ensure that they leave the groceries outside your door and pick them up when the driver leaves. Once your groceries arrive – get ready to get together in the kitchen and create your dinner date meal at home. The act of cooking and dining with your partner can be fun, new, intimate, bringing you closer together.
Play video games. Either of you or both might have enjoyed playing video games in your past. Playing video games can be a lot more enjoyable and fun done together. Choose games where you can team up against others or find ones where you can battle each other. With online gaming, you might even reach out to other couple and friends to game with as a group, doing income ‘double’ dating. Again, it’s all about having fun.
Do indoor exercises. Find exercises that you can do together, such as body based workouts, yoga, stretching, being intimate sexually, meditation to name a few, . Getting your heart rate going and feel the chemical rush of endorphins pumping is a lot more fun with a partner!
Make art or music. Couples who are creative together really enhance the connection together. Find something creative that interests you to you both, whether playing a guitar or other instrument, doing crafts or making collages out of old magazines or picture. Just do something and be creative.
Work on home improvement. Couples that share space together can come together by finding fun ways to improve their home and space. Create a list of realistic and manageable fun projects that you would like to work on. Pick from your list together and plan time to work on these projects. Working together on your space is a great way to get even closer and feel a sense of shared accomplishment, achievement and pleasure.
Make life lists. A life list is when you brainstorm all of the things that you’ve never done but would like to do before you die. The things on the list can be as simple as “make a cake from scratch” or as wild as “visit the remote part of the planet.” Make your life lists separately and then share them; you’ll be amazed how much you learn about each other. Then even discuss how you might develop a plan to implement this list in your relationship
Surf the web. Rather than the internet being a distraction or alienating you from each other, sit down in front of the computer and watch funny videos, read interesting articles, and share your thoughts and ideas about what you read or watched. It’s far more interactive than just watching TV and keeps both of you from being bored together.
Picnic indoors. If you’re both feeling like just laying down and watching a movie, do it with some romance and connection. Put together a wine and cheese picnic basket, spread a blanket out on the floor, and get ready to have a better-than-normal evening of watching Crave, Netflix or Movie Channel. This is one of the top couples activities for intimate romance!
I hope this post gives you and your significant other ways to help connect and bond during these isolating times.