The COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked so much havoc over the world. Countries are scrambling to stay afloat. Economies are on the brink of a crisis. Unemployment is on the rise. Bankruptcies and closures are everywhere. However, another aspect of life that the pandemic has its silent claws on is much closer to home.
Before the pandemic, most couples lived in a comfortable routine. Wake up, prepare for work, prepare the kids, drive the kids to school, and go to work. If you were lucky, you will still have time for your extracurricular activities, meet with your friends, and even go to the gym. Couples spent their days working, raising their kids, and juggling their own personal activities.
However, things changed when the pandemic happened. Couples had no choice but to spend more time with each other. Working from home and homeschooling the kids, couples are now forced to face each other and the problems they could have been avoiding all along. The pandemic and lockdowns have brought existing problems under the spotlight which couples could no longer ignore, and they end up seeking the advice of a divorce lawyer.
How the Lockdowns Aggravated Marriage Problems
Before the lockdowns, couples had easy access to their support groups. A small fight over the laundry? A quick alone time in the grocery can help vent off the steam. A disagreement over the plans for the holidays? A spontaneous coffee date with friends can help you calm down.
Now, with the pandemic, couples had no other way out but to face their issues head-on. Marriages that were already struggling faced even more challenges than before. Add to the mix the economic uncertainty, fear for one’s health, and financial problems, then a straining relationship will surely break at some point.
The most common reasons for marital troubles include financial stress, parenting disagreements, and boredom, all of which are being experienced by many couples since the pandemic started. Families are stuck within the four walls of their homes. With financial uncertainties, homeschooling the children, and less privacy, the pandemic has added a serious strain to most struggling and problematic relationships.
Divorce Rates Are Higher
Compared to the same period last year, the divorce rate from March to June 2020 increased by 34%. A survey on 300 couples found that 35% of couples think that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to increase divorce rates. From this number, 41% said that the pandemic can cause an increase in arguments between couples.
With social distancing protocols in place, many find themselves working from home. Couples with children who are studying and have resorted to homeschooling will also find another responsibility on their plate.
When people experience external stressors, they often take it out on their spouses. People become more critical of their spouses and become more argumentative. Worse, they sometimes end up blaming their spouses for the situation that they are in. The blaming and hostile words and behavior can negatively affect any relationship. Dissatisfaction with the relationship sets in until they can only think of separating as the solution to the problem.
In most severe cases, it can lead to domestic violence. Studies found that the pandemic lockdowns not only resulted in higher divorce rates but in higher rates of domestic violence occurrences as well. Being confined for too long was not only a recipe for arguments and disagreements but violence between partners too.
Divorce may feel like the only solution for these couples who are struggling with their marriage. Experts suggest however that deciding to end a marriage in the midst of a stressful and volatile environment may not be the best. Of course, it will be a different matter when violence is already involved and you may need to seek the help of a divorce attorney.
The Situation May Not Be So Grim for Everyone
For some, facing the issues in their marriage head-on is the turning point towards a healthier relationship. It forced them to address any lingering issues between them and of course, plan for a healthier future. The pandemic and the restrictions have given couples more time and opportunity to understand each other, listen to their needs, and be more open with each other.
Couples should learn to communicate often. Once the lines of communication are open, each spouse should then learn to listen. Couples who will be able to do this, and be the support that each one needs are more likely to survive the crisis.
People who are also able to maintain communication with their peers and support are most likely to have a more stable and healthier outlook throughout the pandemic. Having healthy relationships, including romantic ones, are essential in having a healthier mindset and well-being.
The situation may not be perfect. It is challenging for everyone. But through honest and open communication, and the desire to be a supportive partner, your marriage can and will survive the pandemic.