If you’re feeling the relationship strain right now, you’re definitely not alone.
No matter how great your relationship, there’s bound to be a bit of extra tension.
After a month of strict quarantine here in Colombia (we can’t even go outside to exercise) we’re feeling it too. We’re tired, restless, and stupid arguments are on the rise.
But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.
Because there’s plenty of easy ways to nurture your connection, so that you actually grow closer during this time.
Here are 6 easy ways you can strengthen your relationship during lockdown:
Strengthen Your Relationship #1:
Have Time Apart
Wuh? How’s that supposed to bring you closer?
It’s all about balance, baby.
You’re now on top of each other 24/7 (but not in a good way). And you’ve probably noticed you’re a little snappier, frustrated and more impatient with each other.
So finding the right mix of independence and togetherness is more vital than ever.
We’ll get to the togetherness bit in a moment. But first, think about how you can create time and space that’s separate from one another. Both emotional and physical space (if that’s possible). Where it’s agreed that you can do your thing, and they can do theirs.
This starts with a conversation; acknowledging the importance of alone time and the desire to help each other get that. Then, deciding how to make it happen.
Here’s some ideas to get you started:
- Designated ‘at work’ time (where you agree to not interrupt each other unless it’s important).
- Designated man-cave / woman-cave time (where you each get to do whatever the hell you want).
- Sticking a do-not-disturb sign on the bedroom door if you need a ‘time out’.
- Individually connecting with family and friends online.
- Back yard gym time, headphones on music time, cheeky beer on the front verandah time. You get the idea.
Prioritising moments away from each other will strengthen your relationship by giving it space to breathe.
Strengthen Your Relationship #2:
Dance it Out
Shit got real serious, real quick with this pandemic.
The constant barrage of not-good-news and uncertainty weighs heavy on the soul. Which means it’s more important than ever to find ways to lighten the mood and have some fun. Both for your mental health and the health of your relationship.
And one of the best ways to shift your mood is through music and movement.
Music has the power to instantly change the vibe of a room. And coupled with movement, it helps alleviate stress, shift anxiety, and boost energy.
So dancing to your favourite tunes is one of the best self-care practices around right now.
It can be a simple one-track dance off, or an hour-long DJ battle of your favourite tunes. All that matters is you play it loud and get your booty moving.
Strengthen Your Relationship #3:
The quality of your conversations determines the quality of your relationship. And with these challenging times comes a unique opportunity for some quality discussions.
Crisis has a way of shifting our perspective. It reorganises our priorities, and forces us to pay attention to what’s truly important.
So in this context there’s rich and rewarding opportunities to connect more deeply with each other.
Need some prompts to help you move past small talk and into real talk?
Here’s a few conversation starters you can use to strengthen your relationship during lockdown:
- “What do you miss most about life before quarantine?”
- “What are you looking forward to once things return to ‘new normal’?”
- “What are some of the persistent thoughts rolling around in your mind?”
- “Are you rethinking priorities or what’s important to you?”
- “Are there new plans or changes you want to make once lockdown is over?”
Take this opportunity to reflect on your life and your relationship on a big-picture level. You’ll come out with a deeper understanding of each other and a richer emotional connection.
Strengthen Your Relationship #4:
One unexpected silver lining from this whole horrific shit-show has definitely been the memes.
It’s a fundamentally human trait that when things get dark, we turn to humour as a way to cope.
So finding ways to laugh right now is medicine. It’ll nourish and strengthen your relationship just as much as your soul.
So tag each other in the memes. Share the TikToks. Keep your Netflix watch list stocked with lols.
It’s not going to solve all your problems, or magic away the anxiety. But it will help ease the heaviness of what we’re going through, making it that little bit easier to bear.
Strengthen Your Relationship #5:
When enforced lockdown was first announced, many of us had visions of luxurious stay-cations: sleep-ins, sex romps, wine and dinner dates in the lounge room.
A few weeks in and the reality looks much different. There’s maybe a lot less sex and a lot more sweatpants.
And that’s OK.
If you’re not tearing each other’s clothes off in fits of red-hot passion, don’t be concerned. It’s normal to be experiencing lower desire in times of stress and uncertainty.
But don’t let that be an excuse to stop physical contact altogether.
Make time to cuddle and connect.
Build it into your daily routine by making it the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do before sleep.
Have random drop-everything-and-just-hold-each-other moments throughout the day.
Hold hands and snuggle when binge-watching your favourite series.
Affectionate touch is more important than ever. It helps your nervous system to feel safe and settled, and literally boosts your immune system.*
And of course, it helps you feel closer and more connected.
(And if you do need some support keeping sexual connection alive, check out our online course Reignite Your Love Life – The Couple’s Complete Guide To Initiating Sex & Re-Kindling Desire)
Strengthen Your Relationship #6:
OK we all know the importance of exercise for health and wellbeing. But those benefits can extend to your relationship too:
Lab studies* show that couples who exercise together experience higher levels of relationship satisfaction and feelings of romantic attachment.
Yep, sweating together can make you feel more in love.
Not only does it make you feel closer, it also increases the attraction between you through something we like to call ‘excitement transference’:
Increasing your heart rate simulates the same physiological effects as physical arousal. Those same excited, butterfly feelings so common when first falling in love. Or during peak sexual arousal.
So by exercising together you’re basically tricking your mind. You experience those heady highs of new love simply by getting your sweat on together. Which then makes you feel more attracted to each other.
And when a full body workout can be as simple as a quick seven-minute routine*, why wouldn’t you?
Reece Stockhausen & Jodie Milton have made improving people’s lives and relationships both their passion, and their career. With over 25 years experience in the Personal Development industry, and 7 years coaching singles and couples, their no-BS advice has been featured in Bustle, HuffPost, and MindBodyGreen.
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