Mindful Loving Practices to Help Couples Manage the 2020 Pandemic
By Kathleen Todd
We are living in unprecedented times dealing with the worldwide pandemic. Physical distancing has the risk of social isolation and separation. Staying at home with family when you are used to going out to work can leave you with a sense of loss as well as a decrease in your sense of competency and purpose. Managing homeschooling with your children can create feelings of impatience and overwhelm. Know that all these feelings are normal given the circumstances of today and that there are practices you can use to manage the changes you are experiencing.
It is a time when we are creating a temporary new normal without the benefit of guidelines from the past. We are also facing the uncertainty of how long this new normal will last. There are many unknowns and yet one thing we know for sure is that we are in this together and there are mindful loving practices that will help you manage life as you know it today.
There are opportunities to be kind, generous and compassionate. Couples are experiencing growth and greater intimacy in their relationship as a result of more uninterrupted time together. Many are creating fun, intimate, and romantic times together.
There are also many challenges as a result of you doing your part by staying at home. As the media provides daily updates, you can experience fear about getting sick, the loss of jobs, loss of income, uncertainties about how long this will last, and about what will happen in the future. In addition to all the regular parenting responsibilities, parents are juggling working from home and home-schooling their children. Togetherness has its downside. Many couples who were used to spending only five or six waking hours together, now spend 24 hours together. As much as you love each other, spending so much time together can be stressful. Minor issues can cause irritations and anger. Without the previous distractions of work, travel, or social outlets many couples are experiencing severe conflicts, breakdowns in communication and even domestic abuse.
Here are some practices that will help you manage these challenging times. Take care of yourself and your relationship today. The following are practices from the Practical Tools section in Mindful Loving; A Guide to Loving with Passion and Purpose.
1. Have Daily Big Talk Conversations to create and update weekly plans.
Creating weekly plans helps you ground yourself with a focus for each day. It builds a structure that will help you when you are feeling vulnerable, challenged or at a loss. Be realistic as well as creative with your plan. Remember to include fun, patience, and compassion.
There are some wonderful advantages as a result of the current requirements for staying at home. Along with structured time for work and school, families are spending much more time together, playing, learning, laughing, and loving with greater depth. Parents and kids are creating fun ways to pass the time. People are reaching out to family and calling friends to help them maintain connection and conversation.
2. Practice Acceptance of Each Other’s Differences.
It is important to recognize how your differences enhance as well as diminish your comfort and connection with each other. Here are three practices to help you accept each other’s differences:
1. Practice the Golden Rule of Mindful Loving which says, “Love your partner the way your partner wants to be loved.”
2. Be each other’s Go-To Person. Be the best support, advocate, and cheerleader for each other.
3. Manage Differences with Love and Respect. Have a conversation about your differences and similarities and how you each can show love and respect as you manage your differences.
3. Reset the Moment
We are all perfectly imperfect and make mistakes. Sometimes mistakes only require a quick reset. Here are three practices to Reset the Moment:
1. Oops and Ouch. Say Oops when you recognize you have made a mistake by doing or saying something that hurt your partner. When you feel hurt by something your partner has said or done, say “Ouch”.
2. Do-Over is a light-hearted way to interrupt a negative moment. Ask for the
chance to make a more positive connection. It starts with a request to stop and
3. Take Five is an adult time out. Ask for five minutes to physically remove yourself in order to reset yourself and regain control.
These are difficult and stressful times. It requires all of us to be mindful and develop practices that build resilience and manage challenging times. Make it your mission to be kind, compassionate, and find joy by practicing these mindful loving tools.
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