The Link Between COVID-19 and Marital Stress

If your marriage has been struggling—especially since March 2020—you’re not alone. The coronavirus pandemic has put major strains on relationships of all types, including marriages. Between lost income, uncertain health issues, illness, death, isolation and lockdowns, the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for many couples. Read on to learn more about the link between COVID-19 and marital stress in Havre, MT.

Pandemic divorces are becoming more common

If your marriage was already on the rocks before the pandemic, you have probably undergone severe stress since then. Not only have people lost their jobs, but essential workers are under more strain than ever. Many counselors are overloaded and not taking on new patients, which means that even those who want to improve their marriage may not have access to outside help.

There’s also the simple fact that being locked up with your spouse for weeks or months on end would strain even the best marriage. If you’re unable to get out and do things together—or separately—that you enjoy, it can make you feel stir crazy, lacking in privacy and maybe just plain bored. Petty complaints can turn into blowout fights.

Divorces have been on the rise since the pandemic started, with no signs of that abating. Problems that already existed are magnified because there is simply no escape. However, all is not lost. With vaccines now available and more people returning to work, there’s a rise in personal space (and income). Teletherapy is available, too, making it possible to work on your issues from a safe distance.

How to steer your marriage back on track

If your marriage has been strained since the pandemic began, there are a few things you can do to help.

First, recognize that both of you are probably under extreme stress right now, which can magnify any kind of problem. It’s important to stay mindful of how the pandemic stress is affecting you. Even though that won’t make problems magically disappear, it can keep them in perspective.

Second, it’s crucial that you continue to communicate openly, even when you’re miserable. Addressing smaller issues in the moment prevents you from bottling them up until they become a crisis.

Third, if you haven’t already lowered your expectations, you should—and if necessary, lower them again. People are simply not operating in the same way they would have pre-pandemic. The extreme stress and emotional burdens we’re dealing with mean that spouses often can’t show up for each other in the same way they would have normally.

Finally, make sure you try counseling before giving up on your marriage. It’s not a magic bullet, but it can certainly help you make sense of what’s happening and give you tools to address your marital issues.

With any luck, your marriage will survive pandemic problems in Havre, MT and come out even stronger. If not, therapy can help you separate peacefully and move on to a more fulfilling situation. Call Ellen Savage, LCPC to sign up for counseling today.