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What Are Your "New Normal" Marriage Habits?

Change is in the air.

Thanks to the miracle of rapid vaccine production, our daughter can now see her grandparents again. We can see our friends again.  And we're on the cusp of safely gathering together in groups for parties, weddings, and events.

Walking around our town last weekend, we noticed a new atmosphere of excitement and hope in our city. We could feel the sense of a “new normal" beginning to arrive.

This moment of transition means that our habits, routines, and...

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Close But Not Connected:
The COVID-19 Marriage Paradox

COVID-19 has brought most married couples closer, but not in the way you might think.

We now live our lives closer together: traveling less, leaving the house less, and working nearer to each other during the day. We also do more of the daily activities of life together (parenting, cooking, cleaning, etc.).

We're close. But we are often not connected.

Here’s what this marriage paradox looks like for us. We get to the end of the day and realize that -- even though neither of us has left...

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Looking Back on the (Hard to See) Gifts of 2020 for Your Marriage

There are so many ways to describe 2020. But we think some of the most accurate descriptions come from the various T-shirt memes circling the Internet...

 

In just about every conversation these days, someone, at some point, says something like, “2020 has been a horrible year."

And, of course, there are valid reasons for viewing this last year as a social, political, and public health dumpster fire. Racial unrest. A divisive election. And the global pandemic that has kept us...

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3 Tips for Eliminating Drama During a Covid-19 Pandemic Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving (the good news)!

Covid-19 rates are peaking (the bad news).

And that means that all the drama we normally experience at Thanksgiving -- the strange political discussions or the arguments over whether the stuffing should be gluten-free -- now includes all sorts of new emotionally explosive questions.

Questions like:

  • "Do we still try to eat a turkey dinner together but just do it outside in the freezing cold, huddled around a patio heater?"
  • "Isn't there some way to...
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The Power of Creating Physical and Mental Space in Marriage

 

Over the last six or so months, many couples have experienced the disappearance of space. Physical space is gone. We used to have work, business trips, the gym, and all sorts of other events and activities in life that provided this kind of physical space and separation from each other.

But that’s only part of the problem. We are also experiencing the disappearance of mental space. This form of space is less tangible but perhaps even more significant. It’s space from...

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How to Find Novelty in a Time of Pandemic-Induced Marital Monotony

If you're like us, you’re probably grappling with one of the peculiar experiences of pandemic life: the loss of novelty.

In pre-Covid times, life seemed full of novelty, of new and fresh experiences. You might have had dinner parties or barbecues to attend. You might have had movies, festivals, sporting events, or concerts on your calendar. You might have looked forward to exciting new trips and vacations. 

You might have even found novelty at work in the form of team...

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How can you tell the difference between big and little problems in marriage?

The last several months have been hard on everyone. We've heard this from countless couples. We’ve also heard them say, “Sometimes, I can't tell whether we are just having a bad day or whether something is really wrong.”

At the individual level, this can show up as having trouble distinguishing life's ordinary upsets from something more serious: chronic anxiety, depression, or burnout.

In marriage, this can show up as having trouble distinguishing everyday tiffs...

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Are Your Quarantine Hangover Habits Impacting Your Marriage?

coronavirus habits risk stress Jun 25, 2020

 

Now that stay-at-home orders and quarantines are easing (for some of us), we’ve noticed a pattern, both as individuals and as a couple. It’s a pattern we're calling "the quarantine habit hangover."

Just like a real hangover from a night where you had a little bit too much fun, this hangover starts with an earlier attempt to seek short-term pleasure. But unlike the morning after a wild party, this one is more like a three-month daze brought on by all sorts of odd...

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How to Navigate the Sex/Stability Paradox in Challenging Times

coronavirus risk sex space Jun 18, 2020

 

“The challenge for modern couples lies in reconciling the need for what's safe and predictable with the wish to pursue what's exciting, mysterious, and awe-inspiring."

 

These are the words of Esther Perel, the master theorist of sex and eroticism in marriage. Her big idea is that marriage consists of two conflicting aims. On one side, we crave security, comfort, and safety. On the other, we crave adventure, excitement, and sometimes even risk.

Ideally, these...

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Closing the Pandemic Gender Gap between Men and Women in Marriage

coronavirus fairness roles May 21, 2020

 

Last week, the New York Times reported a stunning statistic in an article entitled, "Nearly Half of Men Say They Do most of the Home Schooling. 3 Percent of Women Agree." According to a recent survey, 45 percent of men say they are spending more time homeschooling or helping their children with distance-learning during this crisis. 80 percent of women, by contrast, say they are spending more time homeschooling or helping their children. And, as the article's headline...

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