Picture this for a second: You’re lounging in some comfortable sweat pants and socks, maybe your favorite old T-shirt. You’re making coffee, tea or other hot drink on a rainy day, and you’re ready to savor the moment. It’s all about the little things during quarantine.
But then, you see a pile of dirty dishes and you feel your blood boil. You do everything around the house, or so it seems, and the thought of your partner being unable to help out just doesn’t make sense.
And so instead of curling up by a window, and taking in the moment, you wind up arguing about the dishes and just about everything else regarding your relationship.
If that sounds familiar, let’s just say relationship experts all agree, you’re not really fighting about the dishes.
But it’s not just you.
Turns out quarantine has really done a number on relationships. It’s the ultimate test: stuck in close quarters with this person, day in and day out. Night and day, all the time.
And while the couples breaking up or getting divorced are the ones that were on the brink already, prior to quarantine, it’s safe to say every relationship deserves a few proven pointers.
Let’s get to it.
Employ Your Love Language
There are five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, gift-giving, acts of service, and physical touch. Most people have a combination of two and three, with one of them being their dominant one (the one that means the most).
Find yours, find your partner’s, and use that knowledge to show your love daily. For example, if acts of service means a lot to you, maybe your partner can make you coffee every morning. It’ll feel special coming from someone else. Just make sure they know how you take your coffee first (to avoid potentially hurting their feelings).
Find Things In Common, And Do Them
Here’s something shocking: You don’t need to have a lot in common with your partner to get along in a healthy, loving relationship. Maybe you’re into cooking, reading, writing, and playing video games, and he’s into absolutely none of those things. Well, that’s OK, because you probably both love movies.
It’s the differences that keep a relationship exciting, with something different going on all the time. The trick is to find the things you do share, and use them to your advantage.
For instance, if you both love exercise, go running together, or do some exercises at home. There are plenty of free workout videos on YouTube that would help.
Know Your Limits, And Work Within That
The whole idea that you and your partner are perfect, and need to love every aspect of each other’s personality is all fictional. Turns out, just like your parents, friends, or coworkers can annoy you, so can your significant other.
It’s normal, not something to fix.
For example, take any hobby you both share. For this illustration, we’re using dog training. You probably have a way of training the dog, while your partner has another. There’s a certain trick your dog is trying to learn, but doesn’t know who to listen to at this point. It’s all very confusing.
Well, it happens. Your partner is going to have moments where they think their approach to something is better, and so will you. The solution isn’t to fix that baseline human behavior, but to work with it.
Next time it happens, try being objective. Perhaps there’s a method to their madness you can incorporate into your own approach. Or better yet, this might be the beginning of learning how to play to each other’s strengths.
Do Your Own Thing
Here’s one for the introverts and otherwise space-needing individuals: Spend at least two hours a day apart.
That’s right, go jogging if that’s your thing. Maybe work on meal prep to help you finally eat up that bag of lettuce in the fridge. Do whatever speaks to you.
As crazy enough as this is, spending short bursts of time apart brings mental clarity, helps you miss that person more, and makes you happier to spend time together later. As a bonus, it also promotes a healthy dynamic so you’re not becoming too dependent on each other.
Look the Part, Quarantine-Style
Finally, the icing on the cake: Look good while lounging. This means occasionally slipping out of your sweatpants and wearing leggings, shorts, or even jeans. Instead of always wearing an old T-shirt, wear a tank top or a fitted shirt.
And this goes for men as well. Slipping out of sweatpants and into shorts or jeans can really boost your overall look while at home.
That’s important, because as much as we don’t like to admit it, looks play a big role in attraction and love.
If you put just 5-10 extra minutes each day to comb your hair, drink some water, or finally pull on that chapstick, your partner will notice.
— By Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer Mendez is a content creator and Lynnwood resident who specializes in copy, graphic design and photography for her clients. Whenever she’s not creating something, she’s exploring new places to eat in the area.