Recently, a fan asked us, “How has your marriage changed during quarantine?” Penn and I took a second to think and both agreed…it hasn’t really changed. Honestly, we’ve been living in “quarantine” for six years now since we started our business. Since we both work from home, we are somewhat experts at spending all of our waking hours together, which some married couples are experiencing for the first time. (We use the term “expert” loosely, but I’m pretty sure we’ve passed Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule.)
Since we feel so strongly about our knowledge about it that we wrote a book (Everybody Fights is out in March!!!), we thought we would spend this week’s podcast sharing some advice on surviving quarantine as a married person.
It’s Okay to Walk Away
Our number one tip for all married couples is de-escalation. With everything going on, it’s easy to go from 0 to 100 in 60 seconds. We start to pick apart small things and turn them into arguments. It’s like the TikTik trend of asking your partner, “Ya know, you could have been nicer to me today,” and then secretly recording their response. That’s a textbook example of escalation. When a spousal argument is started, your fight or flight response is triggered. You’re in a heightened state. And that’s exactly when you shouldn’t be fighting.
When this happens, step back. Five deep breaths. Take a walk around the block. Pet your dog. Of course, you shouldn’t ignore the problem or pretend the fight is over. You’ll come back to it but you need that time to cool off.
Speaking of stepping back, our next big tip is SPACE. With all this time close to one another, especially if you live in a small enclosed home, everyone needs some space. (Even the extroverts!) Talk to your spouse about the importance of alone time and how they define it. Then after that, it’s no questions asked. If the person needs to take a walk or have a room to themselves, let them. I personally take about three walks a day. Apparently, Penn goes and gets ice we don’t need. But I don’t judge because it’s what he needs and we’ve already communicated how important it is.
How is your marriage doing in quarantine? Is all the extra time together making you stronger or making it tough? We want to hear your stories.
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