Happy Coronaversary, guys. It’s been one month since social distancing started for us, and I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day. (I may be installing a safe room in my next house just so I can exercise in peace, but we will discuss that at another time.) The whole shift of quarantine has been both familiar and strenuous for our marriage. Familiar in a sense that Penn and I already work from home and we’ve made conscious decisions to structure our career around our family. We had a head start navigating being married and co-workers. However, it has been strenuous in that we still are individual people with different needs. Despite all the time we’ve spent together, we are still learning new things about each other and how to be supportive.
One thing we’ve asked ourselves recently how this experience will shape us. Penn and I agree that we want to come out of this experience stronger as a couple, as a family, and as individuals. So we did what we always do when we need a little marriage coaching and inspiration. We called Christopher Edmonston for some advice on how to be on each other’s quaranTEAM.
Mature People Ask For What They Want
I get up before everyone in my house on most days. When Penn is still rubbing sleep out of his eyes, I’m on my second cup of coffee and to-do list ready to check off. I come at him like a firehose. On the flip side, after Penn has been awake for an hour or so I usually start a workout. Now he’s ready to dive in, and before I know it I’ve got him and the kids peppering me with questions while I try to focus on some cardio. We learned quickly this was not working. Neither of us will be a good teammate if we don’t ask for what we need. Christopher gave us three reminders to help facilitate this:
- Do Regular Check-Ins – It may feel weird to ask your partner how their day was when you were with them all day. However, every couple days ask this question to each other. This will help you find out what is working, what isn’t working, and how you can solve issues together. It will also help you find out if any frustrations are brewing under the surface. For example, Penn never realized how important it was for me to have sanctuary in my daily workouts. It’s like fuel for my brain to focus. Now he runs interference for me so I can have this time alone.
- Set Reasonable Expectations – Things might not change overnight and the needs you have may not be able to be completely met. As an extrovert, Penn is having a very hard time with social distancing. He would love nothing more than a real hangout with his friends, but for now he is settling on a weekly video call. We are learning to be grateful for even the small things that help meet some of our needs.
- Have Patience and Forgiveness – You are going to have a bad day from time to time, despite your best efforts, and that’s ok. Any team is going to have wins and losses. Feelings of frustration or sadness need to be given grace. Rather than get flustered, see how you can help. Christopher also reminds us to be aware of signs of depression or substance abuse, as those could need a medical professional.
I hope this experience makes us a much stronger couple and family. That we value what is really important in our lives and focus on those things. Listen to the podcast and tell us your advice or what quarantine is teaching you.
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