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In honor of April being Couples’ Appreciation Month, let’s discuss what people in a committed relationship can do to appreciate one another during coronavirus. These are interesting times and people need to be creative in appreciating each other.
Whether you live with your partner or not, this forced time of quarantine is taking its toll on relationships everywhere. Either you have been forced into quarantine together, which carries one set of challenges, or you live apart and haven’t been able to see each other, unleashing a different set of challenges. No one ever said a pandemic would be easy!
I think the main thrust of what I want to say regarding Couples Appreciation is two-fold: trust and appreciation. First, you need to trust that your partner is doing the absolute best he or she can do to get what he wants at any moment in time. Depression may be your partner’s attempt to receive comfort and attention, anger may be a bid for space and freedom and anxiety may be your partner’s best attempt to show how much they care or to receive reassurance things will be all right.
When you understand that what your partner is doing isn’t something they are doing to upset you, you can view it more objectively and be more compassionate.
Appreciation is about looking at what your partner is doing, regardless of whether you are happy about it, and finding something in that behavior you can appreciate. How is it benefitting you? What lessons are you learning? What gifts does it give you? What opportunities does it afford you? Has it changed you in some beneficial way?
Both are Quarantined:
When you are both quarantined, some of the challenges include finding space to be apart, to work, to think, to work out; annoying one another with idiosyncrasies that normally aren’t a problem; and financial concerns.
Communicate with each other about claiming a space, perhaps even make a schedule, to do the things that are important to you. Since this is about couple appreciation, it would be great to begin that conversation with you giving the gift of space to your partner, rather than asking for it for yourself.
If your partner’s personal habits are getting on your last nerve, do the work required to put it in its place. How big of an issue is it, really? Focus on the things you love and appreciate about your partner and understand this is just a temporary annoyance—a miniscule detail in comparison to the whole person.
If finances are a concern, turn your focus to your physical health. I know it won’t put food on the table, but you can thank your partner for prioritizing your physical health over finances. If your pride has been in the way of reaching out for financial assistance from family or friends, you can show appreciation to your partner by accepting help in the form of a gift or a loan.
One is Essential; One is Home:
This situation can be nerve-wracking because the person who is home is often worrying about their partner’s safety and the one working is also concerned about bringing the virus into the home. Turn that worry into appreciation and express that appreciation to your partner. If your partner is working, let your partner know how much you appreciate the work they do and how they are contributing to the family finances. Worrying only adds to your partner’s concerns. If you are the one working, do everything you can to protect your partner by following all safety precautions and letting your partner know how much you appreciate their support during these difficult times.
Both are Essential:
When you both are essential workers, it is important to support one another through these challenging times. Let your partner know how much you appreciate their work and the way he or she takes all precautions to keep from bringing the coronavirus into your home.
Most of the above still applies when you are living apart, but in this case, you have the added stressor of not being able to see one another in person. This is a wonderful time to use technology to bring your partner into your home and even your bedroom. You can take a trip to your partner’s home and talk with them through the window or door at a distance; if one of you has a balcony, chat Romeo-and-Juliet style. If you are still seeing each other in person, you can show your appreciation by taking precautions and to let them know they are important to you.
During this month of Couples Appreciation ‘coupled’ with coronavirus, remember to speak your partner’s love language (coined by Gary Chapman’s book, 5 Love Languages). If your partner needs physical touch, give them a massage if you are together. If apart, drop off a clean, personal clothing item with your signature scent (perfume or aftershave) on it for your partner to sleep with.
If they need words of affirmation, write a nice letter on pretty stationery, espousing all the things you appreciate and respect about your partner.
If it’s quality time they crave, see what you can do to create a date night if you are together. If you’re apart, create a virtual date complete with a favorite beverage, dinner, great conversation, a movie and maybe some romance and sex(ting) from a distance.
If they prefer acts of service, make yourself available to run errands for your partner.
If receiving gifts is their love language, think of something meaningful they would appreciate and get it for them through online delivery. Consider the many creators online who make beautiful, handcrafted, unique items, whether its artwork, jewelry or clothing. You can find personal items on Etsy and many social media channels.
The main thing is to not allow coronavirus to cause you to put love, sex and romance on hold. Intimacy may not look like it did, or even feel like it did, before coronavirus, but you can find new ways to explore your intimacy in creative ways. I dare you!
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