By now, the Chinese couple who could not wait to file for divorce after the end of lockdown is old news. The moral of the story is: they are back together. Or so I heard. It was not just one couple, however, but one of the largest numbers the country has seen, running to obtain a divorce. In times of stress, the pressures of money and relationships can cause cracks in a marriage to widen. If you are experiencing this during quarantine, you are not alone. Many couples find the combination of confined time together and the struggle of working from home and living in this new reality to be unbearable and are seeking to divorce.
Divorce is still a slow process right now as some courts are open, but with limits, and others are only holding emergency Zoom meetings. This depends on where you live in the United States. The fact that a divorce may not be so easily obtained is a good pause for those wanting to end their marriage.
Consider the circumstances of extra time together: if a spouse has lost a job, this adds extra strain to the relationship and can alter what could be the final outcome of a marriage. Unless there is abuse (and if there is, seek help immediately), the stress of the loss of income and the uncertainty of the times may be compounding normal marital issues. No marriage is perfect and many times if given time and counseling, a marriage can survive much stronger and healthier.
There will be some marriages, however, that are thrown into obvious chaos since circumstances only kept the illusion of relationship sustainable. A crisis will expose any issues and the serious ones may not be repairable. Working as partners as a support to one another during quarantine and the stress of the pandemic is crucial to keeping a marriage viable during and after the pandemic.
Be sure you practice some sort of distancing from each other. Time alone, even if it’s only quiet time, is vital to maintaining the health of your own mind and the health of your marriage during isolation with another person. Work together to complete household chores and care for children so resentment does not build and explode during confinement. Communicate and listen with empathy, especially during these times. If you are experiencing time apart due to one spouse spending extra time away, communicate as much as possible and show one another you care.
Even the best of couples can find themselves struggling right now. The insecurity of all that is around us affects even how we respond to one another in the relative safety of our homes. The need for a divorce may be obvious during extra time together, or quarantine may have exposed issues that need work. Wherever you are in your relationship, give it space once more space is available. You may be surprised by the outcome.