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COVID-19: Pandemic Relational Dynamics



More friction at home?

Practicing the art and choice to love is a skill. It feels good when it's working. It is sustainable even when the unexpected stressors of life are at the door. Now we have to stay a little more conscious of our behavior, a little more tuned-in to how we're feeling inside, and a little more careful not to "act out" our innermost struggles in a way that hurts our partner or kids.  


The kids: They're watching you. Everything you're doing to each other is what they are learning. They're internalising relational code from you and your spouse. Consciously or unconsciously. This idea that you have a responsibility beyond yourself about this is very humbling to people, because when you fight, you often feel deserving. Self-righteous. Right? You feel entitled. Justified. You're not humble. So the presence of your children who are watching you humbles you.  


COVID changed the balance of interdependence between a couple. We have to develop new coping skills, because we can't escape, can't flee to a movie alone or any of the other ways we've come to know liberty. Many of our "symbolic deaths" come up in an argument and we don't think we have the resilience to deal with it. You do. Ask if you can talk about it later (after you've both cooled down), don't reply with the same emotional force (try kindness or at least an even tone). Don't blame, attack, or stonewall.  


During pandemics and periods of disaster there are more divorces and more babies. We can turn away or turn towards each other.

Through the pandemic, we've been living with a sense of mortality (or at least harm) right outside our door. We all need to become gentler, kinder and less self-obsessed. If you don't want screaming and fighting, don't scream and fight. If you want calm and quiet, model that behavior.

Again, these are high-level skills and worth practicing when the reactivity isn't at full throttle.