Liz and I have been reading (and sharing) a lot of articles, memes, updates, and tons of opinions about how relationships will fare during this lockdown/quarantine period. While quite a few offered positive outlooks, far too many went right for a foreshadowing of divorce and breakups. Basically, few people believe a couple, when faced with the prospect of being hunkered down with one another, can stand that test of time. Among the myriad of reasons, people offer: One person or both discover they may love, but do not like each other. Couples are not ready to deal with a loss of independence/personal space. Argument resolution skills were never honed because it was easier to “just leave” and let the situation self-resolve than it was to sit down and discuss the problems. Worst case scenario, one or both may be cheating, and the truth is finally revealed. This is complicated stuff, and not a topic to take lightly.
Neither Liz or I ever have, nor will we ever, purport to be relationship experts. Aside from the typical funny exploits we post in The Author & Anchor group on Facebook for comic relief, we are very private about our relationship (as it should be for anyone). Everything is not for everybody. We do, however, agree, there is a hell of a lot more to be positive about when it comes to co-existing with your mate, personally and professionally. You just must define expectations, set boundaries, agree to respect each other’s role, and above all, keep folks out of your business.
We have issues like most couples. Still, one essential thing we are learning during this quarantine is, a relationship will work if you want it to work, and it takes time, effort, and creativity! Instead of sitting around doing nothing, or doing our own thing, we divined ways to work together on our respective skillsets. Liz’s strengths as a writer, editor (video and copy), graphic artist, and content provider compliment my skills as a producer, creative thinker, marketer and promoter, organizer, problem-solver. As a result, we have produced several motivational videos, “Author & Anchor” and “Life Is Not Complicated, You Are” podcasts about interesting topics, published Liz’s second “You Have a Superpower” children’s book, and we are both working on our third books. I’m helping Liz with a new comedy set, and she is helping me with a new motivational speech. We are taking advantage of the extra time as much as possible.
In no way is this a brag fest. The point of this blog is, hopefully, a way of encouraging people to think outside perceived limitations and individual needs and use what is great in one another to make each other better.
Liz motivates me each day to do “something,” so I do not fall into a rut, and I do the same. And then there are some days where we just let one another “do us.” She has her hobbies and downtime rituals, and I have mine. Couples should give each other space. As one of you is walking out the door to do your own thing is not the time for the other to hit him or her with a list of things YOU want done! The same way you benefit from one another’s individuality is the same way you should respect it.
Bottom line, this is an excellent time to learn more about each other or, at the very least, appreciate what makes the other person unique! And it’s not just about being able to write or perform technical tasks. Being all business can take a toll on any relationship. Explore personal interests. If one person likes to cook, think of new recipes to try. If one person is an organizer or good at fixing things, create a list (together) of the most important jobs around the house and start knocking it out. If she does the laundry, you fold. If he cooks, you wash dishes. Shared responsibilities create an atmosphere of partnership. No one, absolutely no one, ever wants to feel like they must do everything! Or that they do more than the other. That fosters resentment, which is definitely counterproductive.
At the end of this lockdown, and as we continue to navigate our way around this new normal, couples will realize they need each other or, they are better off going their separate ways. No judgment either way. Just don’t be influenced by all the negativity. There are exceptions to the naysayers’ rules! It takes work, respect, communication, a lot of laughter, and an appreciation for each other. Don’t be stingy with compliments and praise. And I know I don’t have to remind grown folks that “please” and “thank you” go a long way!
If you believe your relationship is worth having, then it is worth putting in the time to make it work (for both of you!).