Good chance that comedian Rodney Dangerfield and/or his wife had once experienced some sort of depressive episode.

In any event, everyone laughed with recognition, when he said, “We sleep in separate rooms, have dinner apart, take separate vacations – we’re doing everything we can to keep our marriage together…”

His joke takes on new meaning in these difficult days of CO-ISOLATION..

It also helps to laugh a bit more when things get tough.

The challenge of fear has apparently taught some couples… ones  who had seemed to be in terminal trouble, …  how much they really cared after all.

And then there are the others, whose marriages also  seemed to be falling apart way before this pandemic,  who resolve  to  end their relationships  and  separate, once and for all. “Life is just too short,” one woman said. Her husband agreed.(I hoped they would wait until this crisis passed, however, before making a final decision.)

 I’ve always been aware that when faced with crisis of any kind, good marriages get better and bad ones get worse.

Sometimes it’s difficult to make the call about how things will turn out, even for love-professionals whose job it is to pay attention to such things. 

This CORONAVIRUS challenge qualifies along with all kinds of bad luck, like having a child with special needs, losing a parent, losing a job, having a serious accident, recovery from a mental illness, serious financial issues … etc… as a crisis, capable of up-ending or nourishing your relationship.

Being cooped up with anybody, in a finite space, for an indefinite period of time can be a challenge. Everyone has a story.

In this last week, from the fifteen different clients with whom I visited remotely, I’ve heard fifteen different stories having to do with love and/or redemption during this pandemic.

HOW ARE THE BEST AMONG US, SURVIVING?

Those who generally have been kind, seem to do the best. It will serve you well if you understand why and how to give your co-isolators the benefit of the doubt, and to “not show up to every argument” as suggested by a wise colleague back east. He reminds us that everyone is doing the best that they can.

I believe in the benefit of creating a new kind of “time out” for everyone. Identify your happy place, be it a room, a chair, a special spot… somewhere you identify as a place to self- soothe.

Then, pay attention to how having this safe place for yourself, makes it easier to graciously reach out to others with whom we are sharing our space.

If you live with children, assure them that you understand how difficult this all has been but that you will be there for them. Find ways to play with your kids, to help them organize toys, do puzzles, pay attention to the on-line classes provided by their schools. Laugh together. It’s so good for your kids and so good for your marriage.

If you co-habitat with an adult partner, this is the time to invent a mutual project. Go through old photos, paint a room, cook, watch Netflix offerings, listen to an audible book together, work out  to on-line classes. Laugh.

Psychologists agree that the number-one antidote to this kind of crisis, is to rely on a routine, to stick to a schedule, to get dressed every day, (even if the only place you are going is to the living room) to exercise some, every single day. My daughter sent out a photo, wearing a sweat shirt which said “INDOORSY” across the front. I’m still laughing about that. My grandson calls me every day to make sure I get on the treadmill.

LAUGHTER IS WONDERFUL MEDICINE.

On social media, I read about eighteen couples, those among the earliest affected, who after surviving this coronavirus, came out of quarantine … and filed for divorce.

ALL EIGHTEEN COUPLES FILED FOR DIVORCED. That’s what it said, no kidding.  Maybe this was just fake news.

In any event, I’m not the only one who chuckled when  reading that.

If you are having difficulty coping, ask for help. If you have a therapist, reach out. If you don’t, ask your doctor or clergyman or a friend  for a referral. Remember, that this too will pass and life, maybe not exactly as we’ve known it, will resume allowing us to feel free and safe and perhaps …  a little more grateful.


Thanks For Visiting,

Email Dr. Linda

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

AvatarShannonApril 5, 2020 at 8:20 pm

Thank you, Linda! You always have such wonderful insights and inspirations.

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