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).

While there might be more flexibility in terms of meeting your interests, work is more likely to have less flexibility. When this is combined with what is going on with your partner, the situation may seem overwhelming.

While each of you has an ideal that would be what you would be looking for, you are not in an ideal situation. As you talk about the situation, each of you should try to identify what are the things that you absolutely need. In doing so, this is not just the things that are needs based on external forces (such as the compulsory meetings the boss requires) but also the personal needs (such as I need to be able to work out for half an hour a day). Focus on the needs to be able to meet these as best as you can before moving on to what are really wants. Fulfilling wants as fairly as possible will lead to satisfaction, but wants should not be allowed to interfere with musts.

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If you don’t talk about these things with your partner, then at best, you will be working off of your assumptions about what they need and want. Sometimes when we talk about these things frankly and openly, we learn that there are alternative ways around some of the situations or that things even have a different level of criticalness than we thought.

If there is an impasse as these are explored, it can be helpful to have someone else (a professional or potentially even a close friend) get involved who can help you work through these. Here's the Book.


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