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How to survive self isolation with your partner during the novel coronavirus

Coronavirus takes a toll on marriages
Posted at 9:11 AM, May 19, 2020

DENVER — After weeks of isolation with a partner, all of this togetherness may be getting old and taking a toll on marriages and intimate relationships.

Dr. James Rouse of Denver7’s Human gRace Project has some suggestions to work through those tough times.

“The more things aren’t working out there, we’re like ‘I gotta make everything work here’ and we get a little overzealous and that’s brings a lot of stress into those relationships,” he said.

But Rouse, who has worked with couples for two decades, suggests looking at this forced time together through a different lens to help irritation with a partner turn into appreciation.

Rouse said couples can start by asking themselves three questions when they feel confrontation is brewing.

“Is it necessary? Is it true? Third question: Is it kind?” he said.

From personal experience with his wife of 30 years, Rouse said often times, the answers to those questions is no.

“(People) tend not to say anything, which is sometimes the best thing we can do,” he said.

But don’t stay silent for long.

Rouse suggests couples start and end their day with an approach him and his wife use call "book ends."

“In the morning before work begins, we spend time together, we go for a walk, we have breakfast, we connect and then we go do our work,” said Rouse.

He said they also end the day spending quality time together as well.

But for some couples, reconnection may not seem possible.

Divorce attorneys across the country predict a wave of legal separations following the end of coronavirus restrictions.

“If your safety is jeopardy, absolutely do everything that you need to do to get out of that relationship to be safe,” Rouse said.

But he said if there’s a chance the love is still there, think about it.

“Have a moratorium on making those big decisions. This is a tough time for all of us, and not necessarily our best selves are showing up right now,” said Rouse.

Finally, if you happen to have a little extra patience or kindness to spare when your partner just doesn’t, Rouse suggests sharing that with them.

Because many of our favorite places and workplaces remain closed, we have a few more weeks to navigate at home before the outside world starts creeping in again.