tips for couples fighting because of coronavirus stress

It's a tough time to be married or in a relationship. Whether you're worried about your family finances, trying to keep it together for the kids, or just trying not to let coronavirus-related anxiety overtake you, no one is at their best in terms of emotional health right now.

So how can you keep the peace in your relationship when everything is so stressful and uncertain?

What partners need right now is a space to feel secure, safe, and connected. Here's what that means:

Now is not the time to bring up the past three years of not feeling supported.

Now is not the time to work through that big issue you have been having with your in-laws.

Now is the time when you need to show up for your partner to let them know you are there for them.

Dr. Sue Johnson, in her book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, describes couples needing three things to create security and connection in a relationship—she calls it the A.R.E. conversation, which stands for:

  • Accessibility: Are you there for me?
  • Responsiveness: Will you respond to me?
  • Engagement: Will you engage with me?

Here are some phrases to help you build the security and connection couples need now more than ever.

1. "You are doing the best you can. I see that."

Let your partner know that you see all they are doing, even if at times you see things they are not doing. Even better, be specific in your praise: "I really appreciated when you…"

2. "I am here for you. Tell me what is going on for you."

Practice listening to what your partner is saying. You don't need to argue whether what they are saying is right or wrong. You simply need to hear them. Give them space for their emotions to be heard. This shows that you are accessible. You are saying, "I will pay attention to you."

3. "I want to hear about your worries and fears. Sometimes talking them out helps. I will listen to them."

There are so many emotions that are coming up right now. A healthy way to deal with emotions is by talking about them. Make space for what your partner tells you. Here, you are letting your partner know that they can depend on you.

4. "You have something important going on. How can I support you?"

Show that you are willing to support your partner with this phrase, which answers the questions, "Are we in this together?" and "Will you see that I need you too?"

5. "This is such a hard time, and I see you are really struggling with…"

When your partner is struggling, they are wondering if you see them. We need to have empathy for each other. This statement shows responsiveness—you are responding to your partner in a time of need and letting them know you empathize with whatever they are experiencing.

6. "I, too, have been struggling in this. Can I tell you about some of my worries and fears?"

A key aspect of a healthy relationship is reciprocity in sharing our vulnerabilities. Often partners will say, "I don't want to burden you with my worries." But your partner needs to know what is going on inside of you, and they feel more connected to you when you risk being seen for your struggle.

Finally, remember that sometimes we don't need words—we just need to know that our partners will hold us close. Hugging, holding hands and cuddling close on the couch are all great gestures of security and comfort that physicalize the act of turning towards our partners.

The strength in your bond does not come from big moments. It comes from the small things you can do for each other, each day over the coming weeks. As hard as this seems right now, you're both already heroes for trying.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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