When my husband and I celebrated our three year wedding anniversary earlier this month, I was in London for work. I had donuts delivered to his office and he tried to have sorbet delivered to my hotel room. They wouldn’t let him.
I posted the obligatory appreciation post on Facebook and missed him that little bit more than I usually would when I’m away. Now, after returning to Australia to do my two weeks of self-quarantine only to come out the other side to go into lockdown, his phone voice has never felt so loud.
As I write this, I’m in the kitchen/living room/dining room/work-from-home office and my husband is being as considerate as he can and taking his work calls in the bedroom. His voice is booming through the thin wall and I wonder how much of this I can take. Then I remember all the ‘stop the spread’ statistics, and the fact I’m one of the lucky ones who has managed to keep their job – plus the fact he lets me choose what Netflix shows we watch – and I just get the heck on with it.
Just told my husband we should blame all the mess from working at home on ‘Karen from accounts’.
His reply: “No, accounts people are usually really clean”. pic.twitter.com/P69cayU9hf
— Poppy Reid (@heypoppyreid) March 22, 2020
My point is, when I married this man three years ago I wasn’t signing up to spend every waking minute in his orbit. However, if my biggest gripe is his extremely loud phone voice and the realisation that he’s a ‘good on ya mate!’ guy when he signs off of calls, I dare say we’ll make it through.
Below are a few first hand accounts from married people surviving COVID-19. Names have been changed for the protection of both the contributors and their partners.
5 months married
The only thing scarier than COVID-19 is the thought of spending an undisclosed amount of time barricaded in your house with your partner. Yes, it is true, we love each other madly, however, there is something about taking the corona-tinted glasses off and really seeing how truly annoying the person you married is
I must admit, the change has been welcomed so far due to the insane pace we were both running at prior to the pandemic. We know this isn’t forever so we’re enjoying the time together – making dinner together every night, delving into new series together, and daily runs.
I have been privileged to see a new side of my husband, I love watching him work and to see him comfort his staff in this challenging time. In turn, he has a much greater appreciation for the work that I do – especially around the house. In short, our marriage will survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but our sanity may not.
8 years married, with 2 kids under 6-years-old
I work really hard through the week, 60+ hours easily, and COVID hasn’t changed that. I’m lucky in that because the whole office works from home and I go to the office every day by myself, so far our marriage /routine hasn’t really changed under COVID-19.
However the challenges are coming. I’m obsessed with sport; playing and watching. It’s my escape and my release. I also love taking my kids to the park, taking them to sport, and even church on Sundays (which turn into activities and play after).
This routine has been great for my family, I work hard during the week, take the kids on the weekend while my wife gets respite and myself and kids have heaps of fun together for two days straight. And also, I travel a lot for work, which again, is a release for me that I love.
However now with the restrictions I fear my wife will kill me. Why? Well if I can’t engage in the things I love (sport, church, travel etc.) I start to get really restless, annoying, sad and unmotivated. This makes me useless around the house.
My motivation to do chores goes down, I don’t have the energy to engage with my kids as much as I should (which makes me feel guilty) and that puts a lot more pressure on my wife who is already doing 90% of the heavily lifting for our family.
I need to find a way to get my release, engage my kids in new ways which are fun for me and them, or else, my poor wife will start to hate me, and I’ll start to become very sad and unreliable.
3 years married, with a 1-year-old
Going back to work after almost a year off with my first baby was hard. One of my favourite things was coming home to the sight of her big smile stumbling towards me for a hug. Things are a little different when I get home from the hospital these days – it takes a lot of alcohol wipes and a decontamination shower before I can hug my family!
My husband and I have never spent this much time together – shift work, parenting and independent friendships meant we made the most of the limited time we had together. After weeks of social distancing, our time together involves him playing video games, and me getting increasingly irritated at his lack of interest in musical theatre and Bollywood. Although we are bickering more, we are both self aware of it and can usually laugh at the silliness of our complaints.
Our parenting style has significantly relaxed – keeping a toddler entertained for 12 hours a day is hard work! TV? Yes. Cake? For sure. You want to spend an hour taking empty beer cans out of the recycling bin? Go for it. Luckily we are both on board with this.
I am doing everything I can to avoid bringing the virus home from work, but the fear of that possibility is always there. It reminds us to appreciate each other now, and to say we love each other now. When all of this is over, our marriage will be stronger than ever (and my husband WILL be a musical theatre convert).
8 years in a relationship, 6 years married
It’s long been the topic of dinner-table conversation: “What would you do if you were stranded on a desert island with your partner?” While we often laughed off the notion, it’s amazing how realistic COVID-19 has actually made this offhanded relationship question.
I assume I’m one of the lucky ones though. With most people joking about how irritating extended time with their partner can be, I’ve found it to be a long-overdue opportunity to get closer to them; to truly get to know them, and to learn more about them in ways I’d never known.
Sure, we’ve been watching our fair share of Netflix, and you’d better believe our collection of unread books is dwindling, but it’s given us a bonding opportunity like we’d never had before.
How often have we had the chance to actually sit down and discuss unimportant childhood stories the wouldn’t have come up organically in conversation? How often have we been able to discuss the merits of our favourite condiments in excessive detail? While some might find these topics dull as dishwater, the horrors of lockdown have given us conversational opportunities we never thought we would have.
Plus, I now finally have an answer to what I’d do if stranded on a desert island with my partner: we’d thrive.
10 years in a relationship, 4 years married
Being stuck inside with my partner is a lot different than many would suspect. We are honestly each other’s best company. Considering that we originally began our love via a long distance relationship, I feel that this confinement is just us making up for lost time.
We’ve dove into the board games, we’ve crafted together, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed having more time to spend together without the constant busy schedules our lives normally leave.
I think our only qualm is that we’re probably going to run out of things to do – our house can only get so clean, and we’re running out of Netflix shows that we haven’t seen. But, will our marriage survive the pandemic? That’s a definite yes. We relish in these moments spent together, and are really enjoying the calm of our days.
12 years in a relationship, 7 years married
Our COVID experience is a smidge different than the rest. You see we were recently traveling state side visiting family and friends, just before the pandemic got really real for America. By the time we returned to South Korea, a seemingly short three weeks, the States had gone into full swing, toilet paper hoarding, pandemic mode.
It was odd to have left South Korea, when at the time it was second highest in the world for COVID-19, to arrive in the States and not be quarantined; then to leave the States to come back to South Korea, where the cases were on a continual rise, only to be quarantined.
No leaving our home, period, the end. No taking our rubbish out, no walks outside, and definitely no social obligations. We are currently marooned in our little apartment, just the two of us. Honestly it’s just the way we like it.
Ordinarily I believe most couples would start to panic, at some point, at the imposed 14 day stint with just their partner. Alas we are not panicking. Long ago we figured out the value of alone time and seperate spaces. Surprisingly you can still do this while under quarantine in a two bedroom apartment. There’s a power in being alone together.
We keep to a routine which aids to our cohesion. We wake up about 0630-0730 and set out about our day. Oliver starts setting up his new work station and turns on the coffee. I slowly make my way out of bed and start making a light breakfast. Oliver takes a break from work to have breakfast with me. We’ll sit, chat, and enjoy our coffee. He’ll then go back to working, while I video chat a friend or find something to bake. Late afternoon Oliver finishes work and then the fun begins. We’re doing yoga, exploring virtual museums, cooking, or something together most nights.
On other nights we spent the evening apart until dinner. Then we go to bed around 2030-2130 and reset for the next day.
If I’m totally honest about our quarantine experience, it’s not much different than our lives before. We enjoy cooking together and each other’s company immensely, after all I did marry my best friend. The only real difference is that we get to be in the same place more.
I’m thoroughly enjoying more time with Oliver, as he normally works 12 hour shifts in an odd pattern. All in all our marriage will survive COVID-19 and be stronger for it.