Written by: Rita Magallona
While the idea of working from home with your spouse could sound exciting and romantic – lounging on the couch with your laptops open and cups of steaming coffee on the coffee table – the reality is much more tense.
Marriage is full of ups and downs, and all these can be amplified by both of you forced to stay in the same space for weeks on end. In fact, some areas saw a spike in divorce applications after lockdowns were lifted.
“I love you more today than yesterday.” Can you truthfully sing this song to your partner after weeks of working from home together? Here are tips to ensure you don’t lose that loving feeling.
5 Loving Ways to Work From Home With Your Spouse
1. Communicate needs regularly
Your spouse cannot read your mind, so it is important to communicate what you need. If you need help with something, say so. You won’t get the assistance or the relief you need if you don’t ask.
Communicate your needs in a respectful and strategic manner. It’s usually not a good idea to discuss this when your spouse is in a meeting or doing focused work. Instead, take a few minutes during breakfast or just before going to bed to go over your plans for the day.
On the same note, check in with your spouse regularly. A simple but sincere “How are you doing?” does wonders for marital harmony. And if your spouse responds with a lengthy expression of how he or she feels, be ready to listen and interact. This could avert a potential mental breakdown.
2. Take breaks alone and together
This is a very stressful time when we also need to meet deadlines and just get our jobs done. But this season also brings unique opportunities to bond with each other. So take breaks at the same time and have lunch together. You could even take walks together, if your neighbourhood allows it, and stretch those muscles to give your minds a rest.
Does your partner look stressed? Share that funny meme or a joke to lighten your mood. Make sure you also have alone time, especially since the pandemic has forced you to be together 24/7. Everyone needs peace and quiet, even the extroverts.
3. Limit your conversations about the news
The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the news cycle and social media these days. While talking about it could help ease the tension created by the news, talking too much about it might add more stress than necessary. You are already dealing with a lot of stressful challenges brought about by the changes in your life. Limit yourself to checking the news once a day, 15 minutes tops.
4. Set a time to end the work day
One of the temptations of working from home is to keep going until you’re done with your work or you’re too tired to do any more. News flash: The work never gets done. So you’ll have to know when to call it a day and just start up again tomorrow.
End the day by turning off your computer, taking a shower, or changing clothes. Any of these could signify that you are leaving your “office” and you are going “home” even though the distance is as little as one step away from your desk.
5. Extend grace and express gratitude
After weeks of being cooped up together, it’s inevitable that you and your spouse will experience conflict. When these happen, be kind. An extra dose of patience is necessary. Even better, strengthen your relationship by making it a habit to thank your spouse for something every day.
Can your relationship stand the test of constant companionship? With these tips, you can set realistic expectations and respectful boundaries while working from home with your partner.
Here are even more tips for working from home while facilitating your child’s home-based learning. And always remember to maintain your physical fitness and mental health while working remotely with your spouse.
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