You’ve always known that the road to a happy relationship is long — but nothing tests your love more than facing your husband or wife 24/7, round the clock, in an enclosed space with only so many rooms to separate you.
So, let’s cut to it - it’s already been two weeks of enforced isolation. I don’t need to remind you of how annoying you ‘really’ find your partner during this lockdown. I bet even the less disciplined are dreaming of a time they can awake early and go to Fajr prayers.
An important fact of life is relationships are hard and most of our parents didn’t do a good job of explaining this. A bit like how Disney portrayed the fairytale weddings and living happily ever after — our parents taught us the same!
Relationships can be challenging at the best of times and a key reason is you and your partner are two separate individuals with unique perspective of the world trying your best to operate symbiotically as one unit.
I know of couples who believe they are both too alike - I’m one of those and that’s how I know firsthand that I am amongst the most foolish! Because there is no way two people can be *exactly* the same, think the same thoughts and have all the same needs!
We are like separate universes miraculously co-existing despite all odds. Literally, GOD only knows how we do it. And this little recognised fact is essential to your healthy state of mind and emotional wellbeing during this lockdown.
I have 3 keywords for you today, to aid you in keeping your cool with your loved ones in these unprecedented times: Acknowledge, Space & Normalise
1. Acknowledge: There are many isolations do’s & don’ts published for couples that will be ineffectual if you this never do this first: Acknowledge how you truly feeing in these current times. Circumstances in life are changing fast daily, and you can expect your emotions to ride up and down along with the hourly news! I myself have been scared, anxious, happy and hopeful all in the same afternoon! As the days of isolation continue I find myself drifting between the polarities of: peace that all will be ok and fear, dreading the worst!
It’s important you acknowledge these feelings (without judgement) and share your feelings with your spouse, and listen to theirs without judgement. Otherwise, left unchecked, such charged emotions will build up like a pressure cooker and your worries will leak out in the form of unpredictable stressed communication and behaviour.
Acknowledging and sharing how you really feel with allow you both to understand and support each other.
2. Space: For the majority of us, prior to COVID19, we all live life with time to ourselves and away from our partners each day: at work, with friends, at the Masjid etc. A huge mistake couples make in isolation times is spending each and every moment together: You wake up together, pray together, eat breakfast, watch the news…. in fact the only time you have apart is when one of you is in the toilet! (hopefully!).
It may seem noble and cute, but this creates lack of personal time and reflection. We all need our own space. Each person is unique and some people need more space than others (that’s me again!) but personal space is something we all enjoy and require.
It may seem like a tough time to achieve this - especially where most of us only have a couple of rooms and no garden - so here’s some easy ways you can achieve your own space when options are limited:
Creating time alone can feel hard or make you feel guilty but it is essential to a happy relationship - where two people can nurture their own pursuits they will give each other the gift of being apart and have more to give to each other and enrich each others lives with new and different experiences when they are together.
3. Normalise: This is a key ingredient during a lockdown and most of our daily routines have been put on hold. Normalising means to adapt your normal routines with your partner to your current situation. Thus, creating the sense of familiarity despite all the change around you.
For example,If you both love films and going to the cinema, make popcorn and create the cinematic experience at home. Or if you love dining out then dress up and pretend you’re going out to dinner - light a candle and make it romantic & special evening together. Putting in the effort and finding creative ways to continue the rituals and routines you have, will make this time in isolation become some of the best and most memorable moments that you will cherish.
Creating a sense of normalcy shows you care and are attentive to each others needs.
4. Communicate: I’ve thrown in a bonus key word - communicate! These good ideas above become alive when you (a). communicate your intentions to your partner and (b). explain why they are important to you both. You can express, that you wish to make the most of your time together and that you recognise you need time for yourself as well as time to celebrate each other.
With everything that is happening in the world there’s a clear sign for us all to slow down, take stock of what matters most to us and take care of each other. I trust this article helps you to do just that and create peace in this difficult time.
Author: Ahmad Jooma
Ahmad was incredibly timid growing up and through self-education and hard work he transformed himself from a shy singleton into a charismatic coaching star and is now engaged to be married. Ahmad is known for helping men who feel shy or stuck in their self expression to discover their inner confidence and express their true personality authentically in the world.
His podcast 'Authentic Dating' aims to empower men to elevate their relationships, through their podcast, events & coaching. He teaches a model of communication based on authentic expression & emotional intelligence that gives men a complete understanding of how to create the meaningful & passionate connections they desire.
Be sure to listen to it here! - https://apple.co/2LB7VRK