With the coronavirus spreading rapidly across Florida, the United States, and the rest of the world, many people have concerns. Will they or their family members get the disease? How long do they have to stay at home? When will their children go back to school? Will they lose their job? If they do, how will they pay the bills?
However, there is another thing many people may be concerned about — their marriage. This global pandemic has forced many businesses to offer remote work or even shut down altogether.
People are being asked to stay home. This is causing couples to spend more time together, which can be a good thing—or a bad one.
COVID-19 stress can put a lot of pressure on a marriage. The true test of a marriage will be whether or not quarantine and isolation will lead to divorce or perhaps even a baby boom. Or maybe it will lead to neither for your marriage, which is fine as long as you and your spouse are getting along and effectively managing your stress.
And there will be stress. Maybe you or your spouse have never worked remotely before. Maybe one or both of you have lost your jobs. Perhaps there are young children at home. It is possible that one of you may even have coronavirus and that person has to be quarantined from the rest of the family. You may be sick of hearing the negative coronavirus news updates 24/7. With group gatherings no longer allowed, weddings, concerts and other events you may have been looking forward to now have to be postponed. Add to that the stress of shopping and seeing empty shelves where the toilet paper, hand sanitizer, canned goods, and pasta used to be, and it is no wonder we are all anxious, stressed and depressed.
Unfortunately, to make matters worse, some people live with abusive partners, and being isolated in the same home with them 24/7 will only lead to an increased number of domestic violence incidents. Whether you live in an abusive home or not, we can all agree that everyone is affected by this pandemic and the resulting stay-at-home orders. We all want life to be back to normal already.
A stressful situation like a deadly pandemic can make or break a marriage. Some couples will become closer since they have to rely more on each other. They vow to make it through together. For others, their different coping styles will cause them to drift apart. One spouse may want to watch TV or go online constantly to absorb every bit of information about the coronavirus, while the other person may not want to hear about it. If the marriage was struggling before, being cooped up together in a small space for weeks or months can cause significant damage to a marriage.
This is especially true in this current situation, in which people are stuck in their homes. Socialization is harder than ever. You are pretty much limited to phone calls, texts, and social media updates. Visiting someone is frowned upon, unless you keep your distance.
How to Manage Stress
It is easy to lash out at your spouse during this time. We are all dealing with these crazy times, and because a coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented, there is a lot of uncertainty. We do not know what is going to happen day to day. It is unknown when the children will go back to school or if you will ever go back to work.
However, if you let this stress rule your life, your marriage will suffer. That is why it is important to take the necessary steps to get your stress under control. The sooner you do so, the better you will feel. Here are some tips that might help:
- Be kind to each other. Keep calm at home. Do not be so quick to lash out. We are all scared about what will happen, but you do not need to get angry at your spouse. Be grateful for what you have.
- Separate fact from exaggerations. The media is known for blowing things out of proportion. Journalism thrives on sensationalism, so it is not uncommon for news outlets to use scare tactics to gain readers and viewers. Therefore, it is up to you to separate fact from fiction. Not everything is doom and gloom, so focus on the good things. Use reliable sources for your news updates, such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Stay off your devices. Use your devices for work purposes only. Do not loiter online all day looking for news. Limit your media consumption to 30 minutes a day so you can stay focused and on task.
- Stay busy. If you don’t work, find things to do besides watching the news. This may seem difficult if you are asked to shelter in place, but there are still plenty of things to do. Catch up on TV shows or movies. Read a book. Do a puzzle. Spend time outdoors.
- Take care of yourself. Eat well and get sufficient sleep. Exercise often and wash your hands.
Seek Legal Help
Dealing with the coronavirus is stressful for everyone. No one is immune to it, and as such, everyone needs to take proper precautions. It does not have to lead to divorce.
However, divorces are on the rise today in China and they could spike in the United States, as well. If your marriage is not strong enough to weather the coronavirus epidemic, it may be time to call it quits. Get help from Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler. He can make things easier during this stressful time. Contact our office to learn more. Schedule a consultation today by calling (954) 346-6464.