There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic upended our entire world. From our work lives to personal lives, no one can say that they were not affected by the public health crisis in one way or another. The good news, however, is that married or live-in couples were forced to spend more time together during the intermittent quarantine periods in the past year and a half, and many had to retool how they work out their relationships and marriages and found more happiness and satisfaction in the long run.
But not all of us can fit into certain statistics, and not every person in a relationship can say they found more happiness with their significant other in the past year and a half. If you feel your love life starting to fizzle out during the pandemic, here are some habits you and your partner can build to restore health and happiness in your relationship.
Express physical affection
Even science says that couples who make an effort to touch, cuddle, and hug throughout the day can build a happier and stronger marriage. However, the study is quick to say that it’s all about expressing affection that does not necessarily lead to sex. So if you and your partner are not the most physically demonstrative, now is the time to do so. Here are some tips for getting some affection in throughout the day:
- Randomly squeeze or caress their arm when you walk by each other in the hallways.
- Give them a chaste kiss as soon as you wake up and before you go to sleep, as well as before leaving the house and as soon as you get home.
- Squeeze their knee or thigh under the table during meals, like an act of assurance that you’re there for them.
- Give their back gentle rubs when they’re busy or tired.
Little things like these can help your significant other know you are still in love with them, like when you first started dating.
Show commitment in tangible ways
If you and your spouse or partner have been together for a long time, then 2021 might be a good time to recommit yourselves to each other, the same way that you did when you were younger. It doesn’t even have to include a grand celebration like a re-commitment ceremony with all your family and friends (although you can do that, too!), but Here are some tangible ways you can promise devotion and commitment to each other this year:
- Upgrade your old rings and buy a diamond wedding band for them.
- Give your bedroom and bathroom a much-needed remodel or redesign.
- Go on a luxury vacation, somewhere you both have always wanted to go to but never had the time to do so.
- Tell them through words. Write them a letter, or tell them yourself over dinner. Your partner will truly appreciate that after all these years, you remain devoted to them not just in words but also in action.
Communicate about the hard stuff
Research-based organization the Gottman Institute posits that the four horsemen of divorce include criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. When we look at the common thread between these four horsemen, we notice that good and effective communication is key to ensuring that our relationships never experience these four toxic things.
If we want our marriage or relationship to be strong, happy, and healthy, we need to learn how to communicate healthily and productively. Here are some tips for effective communication with your partner:
- Instead of coming from a place of criticism, come from a place of genuine love and concern. Anything that needs to be said can be said as long as you avoid hurtful words and a sarcastic tone.
- Don’t take everything as an attack on your person. When your significant other asks you a question, take it as them asking you a question and not unfairly criticizing you for something. Another thing is not taking it personally when your partner is frustrated or acting out—one of you always needs to be thinking clearly during high-stress situations.
- When we’re upset, the path of least resistance is to freeze the other person out, but this is one of the worst things you can do for your relationship. It’s OK to take a break and get some air, but make sure you return so you can talk about the issue healthily and more productively.
You and your partner can work it out as long as you set your mind to it. Act from a place of love, and you will do your part in saving the relationship.