what I've learned from being quarantined with my spouse


Marriage is awesome. Having a best friend as a partner is truly a gift. But let's be honest, 2020 has been weird. Spending 24/7 with your spouse shifts the dynamic a bit and I have learned a few important things about marriage during the past 6 months.


INTENTIONALITY


Time together does not equal quality time together. It is easy to feel like we have spent MORE than enough time together. But looking at our day all of that time was spent working with headphones on, watching Netflix, or doing our own thing on opposite sides of the house. Don't get me wrong, all of those things are important, normal and healthy. However, none of that is really spent getting to have in-depth conversations or taking the time to connect.


We have noticed that having dinner together on the porch is usually a way to break up the norm and foster conversation. Electronics are inside and out of our reach, and the 20-30 minutes of eating in fresh air usually helps us to take a step back and have true conversation.


A mid-day walk has also been a go-to for us to stand up from our computers, move our bodies for 10 minutes, and have a brief moment to reconnect. Though our walk is quick, it has been the highlight of my day. I try my best to leave my phone in my pocket because those moments are so fleeting yet so important.


SPACE IS GOOD


You know the saying "distance makes the heart grow fonder"? I believe it. I also believe that distance is NOT easy when you live in an 800 sq ft apartment. Brook and I are pretty good about working in our own spaces from about 10am-5pm on weekdays. I take the bedroom, he takes the den. It feels nice to get to be in the same space after 5pm and "switch things up".


We have also been encouraging each other to try and do as many *safe* activities with other friends as possible during this time. For example, I have encouraged Brook to go golfing with his best friends every couple of weeks. I think taking the time to connect with people that are not each other helps to keep our relationship from becoming overly dependent or stale.


IT TAKES TWO


Over the past 6 months, I have REALLY appreciated the ways Brook has stepped up around the house, and I try my best to reciprocate it. I believe that being together often has made us more prone to see each other's needs. We see each other's work flow, household tasks, stressors, etc. I think Brook has realized that some tasks (like dishes) can stress me out on busy days, and so he often hops up to clean the kitchen for me before I have a chance. It could be easy for him to choose to overlook those needs, but he selflessly looks for ways to help me out often. And I try my best to do the same for him. I believe these months together has made us more of a team, and they have made us more appreciative of the little things we each do daily (both in work and in home-keeping).


Those three points have been most prominent for us, but I would love to know what lessons you've learned in this season of life?

hi, I'm Michel

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    © Michel Janse Smith