This article is extracted from “This is NOT a Second Honeymoon: Helping Couples Survive Spending A Lot of Time Together”, a book that was written by Christopher L. Smith to help couples during the COVID-19 pandemic. In his clinical work, he realized that couples being quarantined together have particular challenges. The book goes into a lot of these challenges along with strategies to survive these types of times and even to have their relationship thrive. We will be sharing a series of these extracts over several weeks to help you. If you would like to look at all of them together and get the book right away, it can be found on Amazon (Book).
Most people, when they feel that all they hear is criticism and critique, begin to shut down after a while. We don’t like to have negatives pointed out to us all the time making us feel like we never do anything right. At some point, we don’t even listen to what the other person is saying because we assume that it has to be part of the chorus: “Why did you not pick up your socks?”, “You drank the last of the milk and because you didn’t say anything, we don’t have any.”, “Don’t you know that it bothers me when you leave the toilet seat up.”, “Do you not know how to cook something else, we had this two nights ago.”,
… Each of these may be valid concerns. These concerns could be small things or much more critical things. Especially living on top of each other, these concerns can pile up, just like the laundry. It can be important to air them, but if that is all you air, communication will break down.
On the other hand, if you balance out your expressions of concern with commenting about what your partner is doing well and with offering them genuine praise and appreciation when they do things to address your concerns or your life together, then a couple of things happen. First, the dynamic between you is a lot less negative, and this is likely to make things better for both of you. Second, your partner will be able to hear more of your concerns and may even be motivated to work with you to have them solved in some way. So, it is better for both of you for you to balance concerns and positives. No one formula works for this, but generally, there should be more positives and praise than there are concerns in how you communicate with your partner. Some people even go as far as to try and sandwich every concern with something positive on either side of it. It may
Sandwich every concern with something positive on either side of it.This is NOT a Second Honeymoon-- Christopher L. Smith
feel strange to start but give it a try and find a way to make this type of interaction genuine.