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).
There are arguments you have had about which you have agreed to disagree. Every couple has them. It was just easier to disagree than to expend the energy to let the argument go on any longer. Similarly, there are things your partner has done in the past that may have been really serious and for which you are still hurting or at least feel that they have not had to hurt enough. It can be tempting to want to use this period of time of being together to go back to these and use this as the opportunity to reopen those wounds and poke around.
There are several reasons why relitigating these old arguments or delving into those past offenses now is not a good idea even if, on the surface, this seems like a perfect time. Practically speaking, you are in a situation where you cannot get away from each other, so the negativity that you could easily stir up will become what you will not only be sleeping in but will become part of your every living moment for the near future.
Another aspect is that you have found a way to be able to navigate the past in the present. There may still be some pain or negative emotions left, but you have found a way forward. Finally, amidst all the challenges of being together all the time, it may seem like you have all the time in the world. Still, your time in this intense togetherness is limited, and you also only have a certain amount of energy for your communications and relating to your partner. In reality, this time, space and opportunity for connection can strengthen your relationship if you use it for more positive things rather than potentially looking backward and spinning your wheels in your relationship. When you are tempted to relitigate or bring p past offenses, simply pause and then ask yourself if there is something more positive you can do right now. Here's the Book.