Working out what the new world looks like as a team
Life right now is changing. Schools are empty, homes are full and movement is restricted. Most workplaces are setting up their employees to work from home too. And, surrounding all of this is a climate of fear and a never-ending cycle of what seems like bad news.
If your home is anything like ours you’ve experienced a LOT of change of late. You might have loads of extra time to think, connect, enjoy your family, love your spouse and catch up on lots of extra jobs around the house. Or, like us, you might have less time than before as you work from home, juggle the kids, homeschool and try 17 different supermarkets just to get toilet paper.
Walking through change is inevitable. But there’s a way to do it WELL. And there’s a way to do it TOGETHER. It involves healthy communication, regular check-ins, generosity and not going rogue.
1. Take your time to talk every day
Last night Beck and I sat at the dinner table after the kitchen clean up had happened and we just chatted. We talked. We caught up. We debriefed the day, talked about the kids, our mental health, expectations, dreams and what we’d love to be doing instead of being stuck at home. We took our time. There was some pretty chill music in the background and we weren’t in a hurry to do anything for once. It was so good!
You need to carve out time to talk every single day. Every. Single. Day. You get to unwind with each other like this. Unravel the busyness and the pressure and the intensity of what you faced over the day. Work deadlines, food rejecting toddlers, emotional or withdrawing teenagers… whatever it is… debrief it together. You want to hear and feel like you’re being heard.
- How you’re both feeling, coping, thinking. How full is your tank? How is she going? How has the change affected his emotional strength, your thought life, your ability to cope and thrive?
- How it’s affecting your relationship. Your connection. Your time together, stress levels, emotional energy, head-space or capacity. How connected are you right now? What could help that?
- Smaller details are still important. How is the change affecting your schedules, your workload, budget, planning, meal times, special dates?
- Remember to laugh and enjoy. Connect. Be playful and fun. Try to add some lightness to the seriousness of whatever you’re facing together.
2. Be generous
We all respond differently to different types of change at different times in our lives. Sometimes I’m thriving and rolling with the punches like a total boss. Other times I’m struggling, wondering how we get through this mess!
Communicate honestly. Ask them what they need. Listen well. Be generous. Does your spouse need more time alone? Take the kids off their hands and let them go the garage for a workout or to the bedroom for an extra nap.
Engage extra love and generosity during times of change. Communicate what you need as best you can. Let your spouse love you as well.
3. Don’t go rogue
Major change is hard. Keep thinking like a team player. Decisions aren’t made in a vacuum nor by one person. Anything that affects your marriage or family in any significant capacity should be made together.
I’ve been at home, working, with 4 kids doing online learning (and now on holidays) for almost 3 weeks now. I’ve had to make lots of smaller decisions to manage everyone’s mental health, keep everyone connecting and exercising, and generally not killing one another! But anything significant I always run past Beck first. Even a quick text can mean a delay in a decision until we get a chance to talk face to face. All good. This is what I signed up for. Marriage is a team sport. Any decision that’s going to have a large impact on any aspect of our family life we make together.
Keep going. Keep talking. Keep working on your togetherness no matter what. You guys got this.