This week’s Dear Genie is an issue we can all relate to in these uncertain times – being cooped up at home with the entire family.
Want to Run Away writes:
COVID-19 has destroyed my marriage and I want to ask my husband for a divorce. I don’t work because we have two children, and my husband has been working from home since April. He complains about the noise from the kids and I can’t run the vacuum or do laundry until he takes a break. We argue all the time, and something has changed between us. I honestly can’t stand him, and I think he feels the same about me. We used to have date nights and sit up after the kids went to sleep and talk and now we stay as far away from each other in the house as we can. He hasn’t mentioned a date night in months. I am never happy anymore. I don’t think we can get back to where we were and I’m not sure I want to with him.
Dear Want to Run Away,
You could not have picked a more perfect signature for your letter because what you both are feeling is fight or flight response emotions.
The fight or flight response is an automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening. The perception of threat activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers an acute stress response that prepares the body to fight or flee. psychologytools.com
Like most of us in the US, you are experiencing high levels of stress and fear due to covid and other things going on in the country. Your husband is also trying to adjust to a new work environment under the same stress you are feeling. And, neither of you are getting a break from the stress because, as you mentioned, you aren’t even leaving the house for date night. I’m guessing you aren’t leaving the house to do anything relaxing or fun.
We have a surge in the pandemic happening right now. I would say that this lock down/work from home situation is going to continue for some months. That being said, you and your husband both need to find time alone – and then time for one another to reconnect to the love you share. Self-care and date night might look a little different right now, but they are both still vital to your mental and spiritual and marital health.
You didn’t mention how the children are doing with dad at home and being a bit grumpy. Look for signs of how they are dealing with the stress. Make sure they have some time outside every day and encourage dad to have some fun time with them in the evenings. Remember, they feel what you are feeling and don’t have the emotional maturity to process those feelings.
Everyone in the house needs self-care and time to destress. Here are a few things you can do even with the kids:
Meditation Kids are never too young to learn this tool. There are many mediation soundtracks available and videos on youtube. Let them know that when they aren’t able to sit quietly any longer that they can go into another room and play with quiet toys or color if they are old enough.
Noise Cancelling Headphones and a Good Book (while dad has time with the kids)
Aromatherapy with Lavender throughout the House
Zoom Call with Friends
Open Communication with Everyone in the House
Be Kind to Yourself about Schedules and Chores
Get Plenty of Fresh Air
Do Something Creative
As for you wanting a divorce, unless there are things you didn’t mention here, I would hold off on that decision until a less stressful time. I think you would like to be divorced from the stress much more than you’d like to be divorced from your husband. BUT, reconnecting with him sooner, rather than later, is probably a really good idea. Let him know you are feeling the stress just as he is and that you need to help each other through this time. Then take a walk together.
Wishing you the best!
If you have matters of the heart and soul that you’d like to talk to me about, please send me a letter and I’ll do my best to help you. SEND A LETTER
Dr. Genie is the founder and minister for the Choose Love Spiritual Ministry. Each week they offer services and programs to inspire you to seek your own spiritual connection and healing.