Andy & I have been married for 27 years and working from home for over 10 of those. In the last few years we’ve become empty nesters, although currently we have our daughter and 5 five month old grandson in the house as they are isolating with us, so our house has known both busy and quiet moments.
Here’s our tips on what we’ve learnt about keeping our relationship healthy when we’re together for long periods of time but also can’t go out.
Plan in marriage time but also be spontaneous
At the moment things are really distracting with gloomy news forecasts and wondering where you’re ever going to find eggs again! Everyday life can be challenging but we still need to focus on time for our marriages and if we don’t plan it in, it won’t happen. We have some fun ideas coming up. That said, it’s also good to be spontaneous. Stepping out of routine can be good and spontaneity keeps the fun alive. Sometimes the best dates are the impromptu ones, whether it’s G&T on a Wednesday night or upscaling that cup of tea to a posh hot chocolate with all the trimmings.
Be creative and adventurous
Now this might sound crazy when you’re stuck at home but planning adventures together increases our adrenalin and sense of achievement which when done together brings us closer to each other. It can be a big adventure for when lockdown ends, or a small adventure to be enjoyed now like walking down a road you’ve never walked down on your daily exercise — you could take it in turns to find somewhere new to explore. When you’re stuck at home, some ideas will need creativity — my parents recently dressed up to watch Pride & Prejudice and then had a sleepover in the spare room! Other friends had a pub crawl at home, enjoying a different drink in each room … yes even the bathroom.
Some other ideas:
- Attempt a complicated jigsaw together
- Take up a new sport together
- Learn a new DIY skill
- Try Alphabet dating – take it in turns to each pick an activity beginning each letter of the alphabet or you could try alphabet dining – take it in turns to cook a meal beginning with each letter of the alphabet.
REFLECT & CONNECT
Questions for personal reflection
The relationship challenges at the moment are pretty obvious but can you think of some opportunities that this ‘lock down’ time presents to improve your relationship?
· In what ways would you like your relationship to have changed for the better as a result of this time?
· What 3 things could you each do to make your relationship better for the other person?
· What 3 things do you value most about spending so much time together as a couple?
We recommend you think through these questions personally and then discuss your answers with each other.
Questions to discuss together
· What does fun look like in our marriage?
· How can we be more spontaneous in our marriage?
· What will our next date be and when?
How do you express your love? What do you need from your partner in order to feel loved? As a couple we have different needs and ways of giving and receiving love. Toucan’s Loving Module helps you explore your own needs and ‘Love Languages’ as well as those of your partner.
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