Recent regulations have presented a number of challenges for those in recovery. If you have a spouse, you both have probably realized that finding the right amount of space and harmony to function with a clear head is difficult at this time. This added stress may be causing arguments, adding tension not only to the relationship, but to the quality of your recovery, as well. If you feel that you are not working in harmony with your spouse, it might be time to change your approach, for the sake of the relationship and recovery.
Understand the Situation
Because this is such a trying time for everybody, you should try to understand the potential and existing challenges upfront. Be honest about the fact that you and your loved one are going to argue, and there will be times when you question the strength of the relationship. Also understand that you are going to face many obstacles in your recovery. However, by being honest about this upfront, rather than thinking you are the exception, you can begin to think of effective ways to navigate through these obstacles.
Give One Another Grace
There will be a time during this when you will have an argument—especially if you are both trying to work from home. However, most of your arguments will be over trivial things: whose turn is it to fold clothes, take out the trash, cook dinner, etc.? First, understand this is not a competition to see who can do the most throughout the day. This is a time that calls for teamwork. Remember, you are both feeling the stress of the situation. Realize that these circumstances are unique and unlike anything practically anybody has had to go through in their lifetime—so cut yourself and your significant other some slack.
Curb Your Expectations
These trivial arguments happen because of underlying stress. This might be because you are asking too much of yourself and your loved one. As a result, you form expectations of what the other should be accomplishing throughout the day. Instead of trying to manage your partner’s productivity, exercise empathy. When your patience is being tested, try conversation instead of conflict. Share with one another what is bothering you and why it might be bothering you. You are in this together, and the only way to successfully get through it is to deal with the struggles together.
This might be difficult, especially if you think you are right, but try to bring resolution to an argument instead of letting it build. Much like recovery itself, you must forgive yourself for negative behaviors, thoughts, and mistakes. You and your spouse owe it to one another to do the same. Apologizing and bringing resolve to disagreements before they escalate will help to combat against resenting each other later on. Try to get on the same page and agree that arguments will happen, and when they do, you both need to own it and accept each other’s apologies.
A Good Routine
Having a good routine could help curb the number and gravity of disagreements you might have with your partner. However, be reasonable with scheduling. Many people over-schedule themselves, which could have even more negative impacts on the relationship. Give yourselves looser routines. You also do not have to schedule every activity together. Incorporate the time you need for yourself. A walk, a bath, time to read, and maybe the two of you only meet during lunch and dinner and some evening TV time. Use the time you have with your spouse to discuss their day and how they are feeling—this will help lend a sense of normalcy back into your day.
Share Your Duties
Oftentimes responsibility is shared, but because it lacks a set structure, one party might become less motivated to do a task. This is why a good structure helps hold both of you more accountable. Minding the structure of your schedules is a great way to keep each of you on task. Consider your workdays and plan accordingly to look at times when it is practical to get to doing the laundry or emptying the dishwasher. Remember how doing things around the house can be beneficial in recovery. Instead of looking at them as chores, look at them as helpful activities that have a positive influence on your recovery.
If you watch the news with your spouse and are finding that shortly thereafter you are arguing about something trivial, watching the news may have been what caused it. Look for the patterns that lead to these pitfalls. The tools of your recovery have taught you to look for triggers. Try not to watch the news together, or change the time when you consume the news. It is not just limited to the news; maybe it is the stress of working from home that is causing agitation with you and your spouse. There are a number of reasons why you can become triggered, and by locating them, you can begin to find ways to manage or avoid them.
Alone time. This is not the time you take after a big argument, this is time you need every day for yourself. It is also time that your spouse needs. Time to reflect and be alone is necessary for recovery and growth, so you want to make sure not to lose this time. This could be time set aside to read, write, listen to music, exercise, or meditate. If you live in a smaller apartment or city, try to find space to be alone. Agree upon this space as your alone space so your spouse does not interrupt this time. Again, be flexible with time and each other. Do not pressure yourself to make the most of alone time to work within this block of time. Be reasonable and understand that alone time is a time to calm yourself—therefore, if you need more than an hour, allow yourself more than an hour.
Continue to Set Goals and Challenge Yourself
Much like alone time, you need to take time to evaluate your goals, seek new opportunities, and create new challenges to keep your recovery flourishing. Paint, write, make music, draw—whatever the new challenge, just make sure you are taking the time to feed your mind. Also, afford your spouse to do the same. These times will help relieve stress surrounding the current situation, and it will help provide a longer-lasting peace among the two of you.
Remember, your spouse might never have experienced anything like this before. The recent stipulations on how we can go out, be social, and work might be causing them a lot of mental trauma. This is a good opportunity to give back by applying the tools you have gained in recovery to help them through this tough time. It is much more effective to work as a team than as adversaries. If you are still having trouble finding balance among you and your spouse, True Recovery is here to help. With 24/7 help, we pride ourselves on finding the right care and attention to aid you with your specific needs. For more information, please call us today at (866)-399-6528.