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Together at Home: Refueling Along the Way

Written by: Sharon May, Ph.D. and Alan Hart

“We have been cooped up at home everyday,” Jack and Susan shared over our recent

Safe Haven marriage zoom intensive, “our stress outlets and ways of refueling have

been reduced. COVID has hindered us from freely going to the gym, out to movies,

visiting friends, sending the kids to camp or even getting away for the weekend.”

They echoed the sentiments of many couples living life during this season of COVID

restrictions. Although we are all doing our best to slow down the spread of the

corona virus, many couples find their home-bound life (while often filled with many

unexpected positives), stressful. “We are under each other’s feet, sharing home

office space, cooking together and, never thought we would but we are,

homeschooling.” Like Jack and Susan, couples are discovering that the more time

they spend together when compounded with added responsibilities and stressors, is

more opportunities for their differences to show up triggering irritations,

frustrations and arguments. Being patient, well-mannered and maintaining a kind

attitude, although keys for a good marriage, can become more of a struggle.

Finding and maintaining a sweet attitude toward one another can be difficult

depending upon the level of stress in you and your spouse’s life. The stress and

struggles of life are draining of energy, and if you don’t have time to replenish your

body, mind and soul, it can often leave you with a very thin layer of resources

making it difficult to find the stamina to react to those you love with a positive

attitude. Answering one more question, getting interrupted one more time and

coming up with one more meal plan can easily drain your last ounce of patience

plummeting your gauge to emotionally empty.

How can you care for yourself so you can be the best you can be at home?

1. Name the struggles and stressors and find solutions. When you don’t identify the

difficult things in your life and talk about them with your spouse, the difficult things

will find a way to get your attention. And usually in a negative way. Many couples

are struggling financially, uncertain of their work schedule or school year and hazy

about what the future holds. When you and your spouse ignore, distract, minimize,

blame or panic, nothing gets recognized, discussed and problem-solved. The issues

stay in the waiting room, often growing bigger and creating more stress. A

suggestion: find time to talk through the struggles and stressors in each of your

lives. If it triggers an argument, find a good life coach to help you and your spouse

list and talk through the main issues in your life. If you need, email Alan or I and we

will connect you with a life coach resource. A couch can help you start difficult

conversations about the really hard stuff allowing you to get an outside perspective

so you can find creative solutions.

2. Do things together that you enjoy. Don’t make ‘doing chores together’ as your

time together. And just because you can’t go out to the movies for date night isn’t an

excuse to drop date night. Find something to do together that you both enjoy. Get

creative on how to spend time together. Puzzles, games, artwork, hikes, bikes,

scooters, weight lift (use household items), kite building, table tennis matches,

bread making, virtual cooking lessons, guitar lessons, art lessons, any lessons and

more. Laughing, playing and exploring are connecting.

3. Do things apart that refresh your body and spirit. Jack and Susan created a

schedule where on alternate days each took the early morning hours to explore life-

giving adventures such as reading, exercising, playing the piano and learning a

language. They also gave each other time late afternoon for what they called an

attitude adjustment. As Susan put it, “when I know I will have time for a walk or

quiet bath, I can scrape together a few more hours of energy and patience to deal

with work or the kids. Then the time to myself helps me gather myself so I can

adjust my attitude from stressed to kind.” “For me,” Jack said, “the time for myself

after work allowed me to shift gears and enter the family evening being fully


4. Choose your attitude. We often blame our spouse, possessions or circumstances

for the condition of our heart or attitude. Yet, in reality, no one makes you irritated,

impatient or makes you have a bad mood. You can’t control how your spouse acts

or reacts to you, but you can choose the way you face it. You choose your attitude

and mood. Each day when you wake up, choose to be in a good mood. At each

mealtime, check the flavor of your mood. Is it sour, bitter, peppered or sweet?

Choose to be the best version of you, which means choose kindness, a positive

outlook, and manners. These times are uncertain, but you get to choose your


“God is always there for us, so we can be strong in knowing that He always has our

backs.” Deut 31:6 Good News

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew


“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings

like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah


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