Information for couples

Couples in Corona times: treat each other well!

Shopping, leisure, work - COVID19 continues to severely restrict everyday life. Due to exit restrictions and increased work in the home office, couples currently spend more time together than usual. As beautiful as the days together can be, the risk of conflicts is often high. Couples can often hardly avoid each other in a cramped living space.

We'll give you a few tips and hints on how not to go crazy all day:

1. Reflect on your own tasks and wishes

Everyone is not only part of a couple, but also an individual with their own views, experiences, friendship relationships. It is important to see the responsibility for your own well-being primarily with yourself and not hold your partner responsible for it. Everyone should therefore be aware of their own tasks and wishes.

2. Coordinate the daily and weekly plan

It makes sense to talk to your partner at the beginning of each week or at breakfast every day and develop a daily routine or weekly plan that takes both into account fairly. For example, this includes planning work / home office and the necessary times and resources, the necessary errands (shopping?) And the desire for free time (exercise? Music? Telephoning?). It could be important: who uses which room and when? Can the network capacity handle two video conferences at the same time - or how could this be solved? When should the meals take place? Who cooks? How is the evening organized? If the plans no longer fit well, change them - in mutual consultation, of course!

3. Plan time together and individual time

It is important to provide both common times and times for each individual. It is helpful to consciously spend time together in a beautiful way - and in doing so, for example. B. to build on previous commonalities: long hikes with picnics, listening to music or watching films together, creating photo books of holidays together, ... It is also possible to try out new things together, e.g. For example, visit a museum online or take an internet dance class. It also includes time for tenderness and sexuality. Get creative! Even and especially when you spend a lot of time together, differences in preferences and needs become visible that have to be respected. One person may recover better with a work-out in the living room, while the other would like to talk to loved ones on the phone. It is important to look for ways in which everyone can maintain some freedom even without a partner.

4. Talk to each other about your ideas

The partner cannot know what is bothering you, what you want or what bothers you if you do not say it! A good option is a “We listen to each other” ritual, e.g. B. 20 minutes every evening or every few days. Open exchange is important: How was I today? What bothered me? What was I happy about? What do I wish for differently? Disappointments and anger can also be addressed. It is important to first listen carefully before describing your own point of view.

5. Don't put every word on the gold scale

This time of uncertainty and worry is exhausting. Much beautiful and relaxing is not possible, and there is no clearly defined ending. That saps strength, can make you tired, sad or nervous and can also lead to tension with one another. Understand your partner and their disgruntled feelings, even if he or she does not succeed in choosing the right words.

6. Don't act out anger and aggression

If anger turns into anger and you want to insult and insult or even hit your partner: Interrupt the situation! Stop yourself, get out of the room, go to the bathroom, walk around the block, call friends or call the counseling service. Do not continue the conversation until the excitement has subsided!

7. Consciously maintain contacts outside of your relationship as a couple

Couples should be in contact not only with one another, but also with other people. It is important not only to maintain working relationships, but also to maintain contact with family, friends and buddies. This can be done via chats, telephone or video conferences - if necessary, seek advice. Some things go together, others might want to maintain other contacts for themselves - that's OK!

8. Give the days structure

Separate work and leisure, weekday and weekend. Take care of yourself, also take care of your clothes at home

9. Take arguments seriously

If the disputes are very frequent or very intense, one should take the signal seriously and try to have "conflict discussions". The first thing here is to work out your own feelings when addressing the problems (what exactly is bothering me? What thoughts / feelings do I have? How do they come about?). In the next step, the needs and wishes should be worked out (What do I want? What does my partner want?). Then it is important to specify the change requests (how could we achieve a change? What exactly does each one of the others want from the other? What can each contribute to it?). Finally, it is a matter of working out a workable and fair solution for both of us from the specific proposals. This can also be recorded in writing. If you want to read something about it: "Classics" are z. B. “How do you talk to me? Errors and possibilities in couple communication "(Engl & Thurmaier) or:" Good relationships: How they come about and how they get stronger "(Thomas Gordon). You may want to think about couples therapy in good time.

10. Correctly communicate needs for distance and time

It is important not to blame your partner (“You disturb me”), but to address your own sensitivities (“I need time for myself”). It can be helpful to propose solutions and, if necessary, offer something to the partner ("I'll take over ..."). Good rules of communication are e.g. B. in the book "Talking to each other" Volume 1 (Schulz von Thun) described.

11. Try to be a couple, not just parents

It really is a challenge. Many families discover activities with the children that both parents can have fun with, e.g. B. game evenings, cooking, baking or DIY together. For the time together, parents often only have “niches” in their daily routine. For parents of younger children, it is advisable to use the time when the children are in bed. Parents of older children can e.g. B. Going for walks without the children or explaining to them that they want to do something for themselves.

12. Don't make rash decisions

It is possible that right now couples will realize that they have nothing more to say to each other. In general, serious decisions should not be rushed and, if possible, not made in an exceptional situation. The forced togetherness can also mean a chance to get into conversation with each other or to consciously spend more time relaxing instead of avoiding each other.

Dipl.-Psych. Barbara Lubisch

Deputy Federal Chairwoman DPtV

(As of: May 19, 2020; Translated from German with Google translator)