We’ve all heard the advice on how to protect ourselves from coronavirus: wash hands for 20 seconds multiple times daily, cough into your elbow, avoid touching your face, participate in social distancing that limits your contacts with others. But how many of us realize that there’s another front that needs a substantial defense: our marriages! That’s right! If the statistics related to coronavirus and divorce in Mississippi in any way parallel those in China, where the first cases of coronavirus emerged, we could be looking at a sharp rise in divorce.
The Coronavirus-Divorce Connection
According to the Global Times, the number of requests for divorce since February have skyrocketed in China. In one office alone, over 300 requests have been made. Researchers wonder if time spent quarantined has impacted couples’ desire to stay together. As we all know, stress can bring out the worst in people. The efforts of mitigating coronavirus have led to widespread fear and anxiety. While here in Mississippi we haven’t experienced the level of draconian controls the Chinese have, we are nonetheless suffering substantial disruptions to our lives. Social distancing, school and work closures, and cancellations related to sports and other large venues have had real impacts on our daily lives. Stress levels are rising among many, and, if epidemiologists are right, things will get worse before they get better. How can couples head off relationship issues when so much anxiety is upon us, especially if we find ourselves spending inordinate amounts of time together?
Buffering the Stress
It’s important to acknowledge that stress is contagious. Nipping it early is key to preventing serious issues related to it. The good news is, we know how to do this:
- Pay attention to stress: Sometimes we don’t realize how stressed we are until we explode, or seek comfort from alcohol or food. Check your feelings, and those of your spouse, before things get out of hand.
- Handle things gently: If you have concerns about behaviors, approach your spouse lovingly to discuss what you’re seeing and how you’re feeling.
- Be a good listener: You don’t have to solve everything, but you do have to listen attentively to worries and fears.
- Provide comfort: Reinforce in your partner that you’ll handle problems as a team.
- Look for solutions: When things are calmer, try to control the things you can, and make a plan for future issues.
- Reduce stress: Plan time together doing things that bring you joy, like exercising, playing board games, or doing puzzles.
- Find alone time: Give yourself permission to take that long bubble bath, meditate for a few minutes, or lose yourself in a book.
- Monitor moods: Regularly check in with one another and provide reassurance as needed.
- Be a caregiver: View your role as that of taking care of your spouse, rather than focusing on what they can do for you. It will undoubtedly make you both feel better.
In troubling times, it becomes more important for couples, families, and communities to be able to rely on one another for compassion, love, and support. As we face the challenges of coronavirus, our Jackson divorce attorneys at the law office of Derek L. Hall, PC, wish good health and harmony to you and yours.