How to Reduce Conflict Among Couples During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has required couples to spend an extended amount of time together and rely more on each other for support. During this period, couples are faced with the challenge of having to adjust to the new social, economic, and financial changes that come with the pandemic. It is not surprising that there has now been an increase in unresolved conflicts among couples.

Recent studies have shown that there has been an increase in the number of cases of domestic abuse and conflicts reported since the pandemic started, as many people are trapped at home with their abuser; this does not necessarily indicate an increase in the number of victims, but perhaps an increase in the severity of abuse being experienced or the lack of available coping mechanisms.

There has also been an increase in the demand for mental health services during the pandemic due to the impact of COVID, as a lot of people have to deal with job loss, bereavement, isolation, or having to deal with the illness themselves. Many people are facing increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia, and anxiety.

Conflicts and arguments among couples can lead to mental stress which increases risks of physical illnesses such as headaches, insomnia, fertility problems, and a weaker immune system that leaves you vulnerable to infections.

While we protect our physical health by wearing face masks, self-isolating, and maintaining good hygiene practices during the pandemic, mental health should equally be protected.

There is no question that our state of mind can dictate how quickly we can recover from a physical illness, so while it is almost impossible not to have an argument in a relationship, it is important to remember that quick conflict resolutions after arguments help our mental health which directly has a positive impact of our physical health.

Here are great tips on how to resolve conflict quickly:

1.  Talk about how we feel without blaming our partner

Honesty and transparency are very crucial components in every relationship, it is important to open up about how we genuinely feel about the situation. It’s easier to communicate in a cool and calm manner even when angry. We should avoid making generalizations about our partner, avoid statements like “you never help the kids with their school work” or “you never help with the chores any more” these statements are very likely to make our partner defensive and are likely to lead our partner to start generating counterexamples of the times that they were, in fact, helpful.

Instead, talk to them calmly, appreciate the work they have put in, and talk to them about ways they can help better.

2.  Listen to our partner

It’s important we allow our partners to express how they feel about the situation, avoid interrupting them,  that way they feel we genuinely care about resolving the conflict. Ensure eye contact. Listen actively and keep an open mind.  Ask them questions for clarity. Confronting our spouse with grace and tactfulness requires patience, wisdom, and humility. Check the circumstances, this includes location and timing. Do not confront our spouse when they’re busy with the kids or in public.

3.  Body language

Body language goes a long way to tell how we really feel about a situation. Contemptuous remarks will belittle our partner, this can involve sarcasm or using abusive words. It can also include non-verbal behavior like eyes-rolling, pointing fingers, smirking, or walking out on our partner. These behaviors will further aggravate the situation and the situation will not be easily resolved. Instead, be approachable, even if we are visibly upset, and ensure we have a calm demeanor.

4.  Engage in activities

Many countries are still in lockdown which makes it increasingly difficult for couples to engage in fun activities outside their homes. The boredom that comes with the lockdown can cause increased hostility, anger, and irritability.  There are a lot of ways to enjoy each other’s company indoors and relieve stress. Such activities include movie nights, playing board games, video games, listening to music, cooking together, and doing exercises. We can also take a walk and enjoy the viewing scenes of nature, this is a very good stress reliever. We could make a list of projects that we would like to work on and start checking things off the list, one by one.  We can also work on redecorating the home, this is a great way to get even closer.

5.  Appreciate one another

Remember the pandemic affects everyone differently so it is important to understand that our partner might cope with the stress that comes with the pandemic differently than you do. It is essential that we show how much we value one another by acknowledging their efforts. We can show this by getting them a gift or simply writing a note and leaving it somewhere you know they would find.

In short, a healthy and long-lasting relationship is a combination of love, care, and concerns.  The COVID epidemic will end one day.  If a relationship is not handled well, it may end up like an epidemic one day.  We can talk to our friends for emotional release and support, on one hand, we can also consult a professional to solve the problem from the source on the other hand.

What kind of “vaccine” is the best for us?

The Destiny Team