Many of us have spent the last few weeks cooped up at home with our nearest and dearest.
And although that may have seemed fun at first, spending 24-7 with your partner can test even the most solid of relationships.
Relationship expert Judge Lynn Toler, from “Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition,” knows quite a bit about staying home with a lover: her husband is retired, and she works quite a bit from home. She said that your time in quarantine doesn’t mean that you have to be at each other’s throats.
“You can come in scared and feel stuck, or you can come in powerful and feel like you can redirect things, the judge told BOSSIP. “I think the first thing you need to do is talk about it, it’s not business as usual. How are we going to spend our time? Make plans about it so you don’t run into problems.”
Here are her top tips:
-Make the effort to spend quality time with your mate: “We schedule the times we want to be together. We’ll take a drive around the neighborhood or we do walk outside. We may go for wine and dessert in the backyard.
-Learn something new: ”The night before, I always make a list of must-dos, should dos, ought dos. I can go on YouTube and learn. I think it’s important the people learn. Don’t just look to be entertained. At the end of this COVID-19, I’m going to be a decent crocheter, and learn 100 Chinese characters.”
-Make sure you have time for your own self-care: Exercise is important to keep your endorphins together. None of us read enough. Start a virtual book club. Take those virtual tours that they have of the Louvre. So we don’t get isolated and stuck in front of the screens. I think you can stay generally informed, but don’t live in that news.”
-Have healthy disagreements: “Sometimes just airing them (grievances) can help you. I know my husband and I have annoyance exchanges…The one thing I need to repeat most often to the cast members is in any dispute, in any war, the first battle you have is with yourself. You have to remember to fight the problem, not each other.”
-Music is a mood enhancer: “Employ the power of music. When I get off the treadmill, I listen to Celine (Dion) and Whitney (Houston). It’s huge.”
-Be on your best behavior: “Use your ‘out of the house manners’. Pull it out. Now things are different so you’ve got to approach it differently.”
Toler said most of all, this is a time to reflect on who we are and how we can come out of this crisis as better people and a better society.
“We are getting hit on so many levels, and the question is how are we gonna meet it? Let’s not let fear command us. We are smart and we are technologically able. Let’s all come out of this like yes, this is who we are.”
*This interview was edited for space and clarity.