Your marriage was OK before the pandemic. But it’s not feeling the same now. You don’t like your husband very much and you’re not getting along. You thought the easing of restrictions would make things better. But it hasn’t. You can’t see how it can improve and don’t know what to do.
Then you hear about couples who feel lockdown has brought them closer together. Leaving you wondering if there’s something wrong with your marriage. And that maybe the pandemic has killed your marriage.
Recognise this? It can help to understand what is happening with your marriage and the reasons why it feels like the pandemic has killed it. Read on to find out more.
I think it’s a bit of an understatement to say that we’ve been under more stress during the pandemic. Schools being shut, having to work from home, worries about finances or the future as well as being concerned about catching the virus have all put us immense strain.
Add to the mix that our social life has been switched off so we can’t offload to a friend or have a change of scene, the stress levels grow.
We’ve all been more stressed
The thing is when you’re feeling stressed it tends to leak out in your relationships with those closest to us. Which is often your husband. And can show up as
- Less patience and tolerance
- More annoyance and irritability
- Noticing everything that’s not OK
- Not noticing what’s going well
None of which are great for getting along
And of course, he’s probably more stressed too, as he’s having to deal with the same changes to life as you
Not a recipe for being happy and content together
Spending more time together
When we got married we probably didn’t expect to spend 24/7 together in the same house. Trying to work, home school children, as well as keeping the house some kind of tidy when everyone’s at home all the time.
We may have wished for more time together before the pandemic, but what we’ve experienced over the last year has been the other extreme.
The thing is marriages need space to thrive. Yes we got married to share our life together. But not to have no time apart.
We need space to do our own things, be ourselves. And then look forward to spending time together. All of which is not possible when you’re in the same house 24/7. And the only break was going to the shops for essential items or your daily exercise.
You’ve been cooped up together in a way that you weren’t used to, didn’t sign up for and isn’t healthy for your marriage.
Spending more time together
It might have seemed fun at first. To be at home all together. Getting creative thinking of fun activities and Zoom quizzes. But the novelty wore off many months ago.
It’s been a long, hard winter of monotony and boredom. With fun in very short supply. When the most interesting conversation has been what to eat or what to watch.
You’ve not had chance to have fun as a family, as individuals or as a couple. And whatever energy you’ve had has probably got sucked into trying to keep your children entertained. Not leaving any energy for yourself or your husband. And no energy to think of fun things to do together.
What does this mean for your marriage?
That it’s been under immense pressure during the pandemic. In fact when you list it out it’s huge what we’ve had to deal with.
But because it’s happening to everyone else at the same time, it can be easy to dismiss it. Or think that everyone else is coping. Or others have it worse. Forgetting that what we’ve had to deal with is HUGE and created challenges in ALL areas of our life AT THE SAME TIME.
So firstly it’s worth reminding yourself of that and then being kind about what next. It’s easy to think that because restrictions have lifted that you should go back to how you were feeling before the pandemic – why is it not feeling better by now?
Whereas the reality is you still have lots of challenge in our life. You’re still working from home, school is different for your children, you can’t do everything you did before and the worries about the future are still there.
So it could take some time for your marriage to recover from all it’s had thrown at it, and continues to have to deal with. If you’d broken your leg you would expect it feel strange when the plaster first came off. And have to build up to all the activities you did before. Your marriage is just the same.
If you’d like to find out about the steps you can take to get your marriage back on track and stop worrying if the pandemic has killed your marriage, check out this blog What to do if you think the pandemic has killed your marriage