For most men, while this is going to sound very stereotypical, it can be 100% accurate, it’s going to come down to support your spouse and quit giving advice.
The same problem we’ve had since the beginning of time, men sharing too much advice, having to be Mr. Fix it, Mr. know it all, Mr. Savior… It hasn’t worked, and it surely doesn’t work for times like this.
And for women, again another stereotypical response – we are going to do less sharing with our friends, less sharing about the news, less sharing about how many people are infected and how many people have died and who’s at fault and who’s not at fault.
I think you get the picture. All this turns into gossip.
Half facts. Partial truth. None of us really know what’s going on in the world, do you understand that?
So we need to do the best that we can do, with what we have, right now.
Emotional support from a spouse during an illness is very important, and it certainly doesn’t include talking about the prevalent scare every now and then.
Also, it is important to rely on trusted websites for facts on COVID-19. Make sure that both you and your spouse are not carried away by the escalating rumors and myths doing rounds on social media.
Give them space to vent
If one of the spouses is extremely sensitive in nature, filled with anxiety, or maybe even depressive thoughts about where this virus is leading to, give them space to vent.
Give them plenty of space to comment, share their fears, but the most important thing: do not give any advice!
In other words, we can increase someone’s feelings of anxiety, isolation, loss of control, and more by telling them what they’re feeling is wrong, or they’re blowing things out of proportion, or what they read on this blog was 100% fake news.
You get the picture, right?
So if one of the spouses, be it the guy or the woman, is extremely sensitive, allow them to vent. Sit there, nod your head, show them that you’re paying attention, but do not give any advice.
As the death toll keeps rising every day across the world, we don’t know that everything is going to be alright, we can only hope it will, but there’s no use in making those types of statements to someone who’s anxious because it’s not going to get you anywhere.
Use smart techniques to deal with your partner’s family
More than supporting your partner or dealing with a sick spouse, dealing with the partner’s family is a task!
One of my clients went back to the West Coast to be with her family because her grandparents and her parents are quite old and she wanted to support them in every way possible.
But then she texted me in a frantic state because the city that she’s in all of the restaurants etc. have been closed, the sporting events have been canceled as we all know, and she had no idea how she was going to get along with her family that she rarely spends any time with.
Her husband was super frustrated to have to be on the trip, he wasn’t supporting her at all, and actually adding to her anxiety.
So then I recommended to both of them, to go to a local store and get a ton of board games like Monopoly, etc. because there was no place to go and they both were getting cabin fever.
The takeaway is to distract everyone from the lingering stress and support our forward movement by doing something light and fun. This is one of the best ways to support your spouse.
The result? Nothing short of miraculous.
My client’s husband was ecstatic. He was so happy that there was something they could do, which would put them in the movement even if the movement was only around a board game on the table.
It really helped their relationship, and they bonded on going shopping together, they bonded on playing on the same team when they’re generally on opposing sides; it really had a powerful effect.
And her parents and grandparents were just as thrilled as everyone was able to stay inside but stay busy entertaining each other.
Watch this inspiring video of a couple fighting the Coronavirus together:
Support your spouse
Stress is at an all-time high, so this is the time to support your spouse. This is not the time to cut your partner down, to remind them that they never get the facts right, to tell them they’re over worrying.
All the things that hurt relationships during non-stressful times can be a part of what creates an explosion in relationships during stressful times.
Amidst this coronavirus pandemic, support your spouse by talking about having patience with each other.
Talk about things that you can do outside that would not be around crowds of people, in order to not go stir crazy but to still do things together.
Ask each other how they are feeling? Ask each other on a daily basis if there’s anything that you can do to support their health or emotions.
In other words, get real, get intimate, and support your spouse like you never have in the past.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
David Essel, M.S. is the best selling author of 9 books, a counselor and master life coach and inspirational speaker whose work is endorsed by celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, Wayne Dyer, Kenny Loggins and Mark Victor Hansen. David accepts new clients monthly via Skype and phone sessions from anywhere.
(David Essel is also listed in Best Marriage Therapists in Fort Myers)