Impact of Covid-19 on Relationships
The mental state of the Earth has shifted in a greater negative direction, and social tensions are higher than before. While many instances can put aside or avoided because they do not affect us directly, the pandemic is not one of them. The effects of the Corona virus cannot even be avoided in the home.
When the world turned the page to the year 2020, many people we excited at the thought of a new year, new decade, new goals, and exciting times ahead. Well, the new year and new decade both arrived; however, many new goals were put on hold, and the exciting times ahead weren’t what we had in mind. We were thinking more along the lines of reaching some of our greater goals, not masks and hand sanitizer.
And so, in the second half of 2020, the planet is still struggling through this pandemic, and some only by the skin of their teeth. Nearly everyone has been affected by Covid-19 in one way or another. Without enough warning, families across the globe were forced into an entirely different world, both literally and emotionally.
The public continues to get mixed opinions or beliefs on the right way to handle this pandemic, and the voices of the professionals are not even agreeing with each other. Because of the internet and social media, we are bombarded with information and opinions that disagree. This constant conversation of surviving the pandemic and the right approach even affects families in their own homes. Husbands and wives do not always agree on the best approach. He may want to have his parents over, while she has not left the house in weeks, and doesn’t want to see others in person still. The children are bored and want to get out of the house, but one or both parents are terrified to do much more than a weekly grocery shopping trip because of the continuing number of deaths seen on the news each week. One thing all families can agree on is that this pandemic has not been easy for anybody. We haven’t even mentioned the impact of regular friendships, and the opinions of whether to wear a mask or not wear a mask. Or whether to send our children to school or teach them at home.
As frustration has grown at home and shutdowns continued adding more restrictions with businesses and recreational activities, families found that being together constantly is not always an easy task.
Not only has the pandemic brought most fun activities for children to a halt, the impact it has on the husband and wife has not gone unnoticed. Job layoffs and working from home cause additional challenges, and many people don’t know what to do or how to handle it.
While families are home together more than ever, anxieties and tensions have grown because of the uncertainty of the future. When men who are confident in their ability to provide for their families suddenly find themselves laid off or unemployed, it is easy to understand why they are struggling with anxiety, frustration, and depression. Moms continue to try to balance it all, with the mounting stress of bored children and the concern of how isolation is affecting them, the possibility of needing to school the children and home, and doing what she can to help her husband cope with his frustrations while trying to hold herself together. Many women are finding that they are fighting with their husbands more.
Taking a step back and discovering the true emotions behind the actions can be a big help in finding solutions for resolving conflict, addressing the real issues, and learning to co-exist more peacefully when tensions are high.
What is really going on?
While many people do not want to admit it, especially men because of their God-given nature to be strong and to be providers, what looks like anger (the tensions we were speaking of) may actually be fear. This is not to take away from all that his wife contributes to their relationship and provision for her family, but we are talking about men’s emotions. What if he can’t afford food for his family? What if the electric and water get shut off because he couldn’t pay? What if the money runs out completely and he can no longer afford his home?
If wives can try to see inside her husband’s mind, and realize his insecurities and fears, she can better help the situation. When all she sees is anger, it’s hard for her sympathize because she becomes angry too. However, in her own special makeup of being a nurturing creature, if she can see the true emotions of her man, her compassion and desire to help will come alive. It may not be easy, especially because none of us know when the restrictions will end and where our lives will be financially, emotionally, and even physically when things return to the new “normal”.
Because the pandemic is a new challenge for everybody, we must either fine-tune or coping skills or learn new ones that will pull us through.
What can we do?
As wives who want to make the best of this inconvenient set of circumstances, let us think about what we can do to help our husbands in the face of job layoffs, business closures and a suffering economy.
- It’s time to have a talk. The best way to talk about difficult things is to forbid anger to join in the conversation. Start by letting our husbands know how much we appreciate their hard work and commitment and dedication to their families. We don’t need to show that we are stronger than they are if they are suffering greater anxiety and depression, but we can let them know that we see their strengths. It’s not a competition, and the goal isn’t to see who is better or wiser or stronger. The goal is to get out of this harmful state of mind that can cause damage in the future if not turned around. Let them know we believe in them and let them know we’re by their side to do what we can to help.
Remind them that this is a change in schedule and routine for us too.
Let them know that as a team, we can come through this storm together, and then do some brainstorming to talk about areas of tension and concerns, and what can be done to help these areas. Even habits can become areas of contention. We may talk loudly on the phone while they are trying to read a book. It does not hurt anything for one of us to relocate where we are in the house. Remember, we are not trying to win a battle of wills; we are trying to win at marriage and making it through a pandemic.
When it comes to concerns, they could be related to the extra housework and extra attention the children need because of being shut in at home. Talk about sharing the responsibilities so the children get some one-on-one time they need and dividing the household chores to keep things running smoothly.
- Don’t let the news and social media infiltrate our every thought and every move. Yes, we know there is a pandemic and we need to be careful. Yes, we know the world is different today. No, we don’t need to learn every new statistic and the latest opinion war. There are many more important things to dwell on.
- Get creative. How many of our husbands have talked about all the things they wish they had the time to do? They never thought it would happen, but here we are! We can talk to them about what some of the dreams and plans were and take the initiative to get them started on what they have wanted to do for years. If they’ve always wanted to plant a flower bed in front of the house, we can put on our own work clothes and meet them in the front yard with a shovel. If they’ve wanted to study genealogy, we can find a few websites and put a few names in the search box to help get them started.
- Spend time outside, eat a healthy diet and get some exercise. It seems like this should be common knowledge, but these things are easy to set aside when we are feeling depressed. Natural foods, fresh air and sun, and bodily exercise give us many of the health benefits we need. This should be especially important right now.
- If money is a serious concern for our husbands, brainstorm ways to make ends meet. With the internet and opportunities that have no border limits, many of our husbands have skills they can share across the world. There are websites that are legitimate ways to make money. If they (or even ourselves) are good with computers, writing, graphics, language interpretation, a specific musical instrument or other skill, we can sell our services online through different sites. Consider local options too. Can our husbands do landscaping, remodeling, or other “handyman” jobs? While they pandemic is affecting nearly everyone, that doesn’t mean it is affecting nearly everyone financially. There are those who are still able to pay for the services of others, and this is a great time to put those personal skills to use for pay.
- Re-evaluate priorities and include family fun. Families are so financially, and commitment bound these days, this is a good time to look at our priorities and rearrange according. Encouraging our husbands to do so may help them see which commitments they can cancel, and the new order the rest should be in. Let us wives be the initiators once again and encourage family fun by digging out indoor and outdoor games, putting a big puzzle out on the table, or setting up paint paintbrushes and paper to get creative.
It may take some time to change our routines, but with a concentrated effort and our families being the most worthwhile goal, we can do it! When we want to see our families thrive, and we are not worried about a competition of strength between ourselves and our husbands, the outcome will be a good one, and it’s a win-win for everyone!