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One Key Question to Ask Your Partner After the COVID-19 Quarantine

White planner laying on a light-wooden table with a coffee mug in the left hand corner
May 3, 2020
Dr. Kendra A. O'Hora, LCMFT

This social distancing, quarantine, shelter-in-place life has us all seriously rattled. And, we keep being teased that it’s coming to an end…

Relationship wise, I’ve heard of people needing:

  • a quarantine from their spouse,
  • some serious spaceeeeee,
  • a vacation all by themselves, and perhaps the most disheartening…
  • a separation or divorce

If you fall into the categories above, please know you’re not alone, many couples are struggling and that is 100% normal during this crisis, crazy season.

Maybe you didn’t have this experience. Maybe quarantine life was different for you or your relationship. Maybe you found yourself thriving. Maybe you’re like several of the clients I’ve heard from that are:

  • gaining new perspective,
  • slowing down and recognizing what really matters,
  • taking breaks and learning to rest,
  • organizing and re-arranging their physical environment and internal landscape

THIS IS NORMAL, TOO!

Some people have struggled, some people have thrived. Both are normal and OK. We all have different experiences, traumas, and strengths…those come out differently during times of crisis.

Regardless, there is one key question you can ask your partner when this is all said and done:

But before we go there, you might be the type of couple that’s ready to ask more than one question. Not because you’re an over-achiever (but no disrespect if you are!) but instead because you’ve been ready to grow for a long time.

Unfortunately, quarantine life pressed serious pause on your 2020 goals for relationship growth. And if that’s the case, I have something that is just for you. A couples workbook that helps your relationship go from stuck to fulfilled by tackling the three most important pieces of a romantic relationship.

OK, BACK TO THAT ONE KEY QUESTION. DRUMROLL PLEASE…

When the threat is gone, when the restrictions are raised, when the schools are back in session (a-freaking-men) I want you to ask your partner:

WHAT’S WORKING WITH US?

Goodness that seems simple but let. me. tell. you. how often I hear that couples have not checked in. So many couples I talk to have no stinkin’ clue what’s working. And do you know why this question is so crucial RIGHT NOW?

Because you’ve never endured, as a couple, something like this pandemic, ever.

To be fair, no couple has.

And that’s exactly why this one question is so so key. You have more data than ever before (can you tell I used to be a researcher?!).

Here’s the data you currently have:

  • what worked while we dated
  • what worked in the beginning of our marriage
  • what worked right before COVID-19 and quarantine madness, and
  • what worked during quarantine madness

That’s critical data, friends!

Never in the history of the world have we experienced anything like what we just went through. So, if your relationship endured with any semblance of positivity, strength, curiosity, and/or hope then you better start digging because you could be onto something big.

And just to prove how essential I think this question is, I’ll do a little sharing myself!

I asked this question to my husband this week and learned something really beautiful: I uncovered that what’s working with us is shared time and shared interests.

When we were dating this looked like frequent Facetiming (we were long-distance) and mutual support of our professional paths. Throughout our marriage and right before COVID-19 this looked like a love of travel and exploring together.

And during COVID-19, during the most stressful time our relationship has ever seen, this looked like:

  • gardening,
  • backgammon,
  • cooking together,
  • Tiger King,
  • New Girl, and
  • quality time playing with our animals

Here’s what we learned – we’re not the type of couple to gush about each other on social media, we’re not the type of couple to go on long bike rides or walks together (J says no to all forms of exercise!), we’re not the type of couple to endlessly serve each other (we’re both pretty independent) but WE ARE the type of couple to share time together and share in mutual interests.

I think you’re ready to ask this all-important question, too.

Now more than ever you’re prepared to take what you’ve learned and launch your relationship into a new season with fresh air, warm weather, and freedom. So that when there’s no more quarantine, no more global crisis and stress, you’ll have successfully figured out…

What’s working in your bond!

Meet Dr. K!

Dr. Kendra O’Hora is a Licensed Clinical Marriage & Family Therapist and owner of Wellness & Co. in Bel Air, MD. When she’s not working on a puzzle (she’s obsessed), reading about the Enneagram, eating a cheeseboard, or hanging with her hubby she’s building her business. Wellness & Co. provides therapy & educational resources to individuals, couples, and families!

Connect with Wellness & Co.

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