COVID-19 AND RELATIONSHIPS

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May 20, 2020

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For better or for worse: that’s the vow many couples and singles will be walking away from after this global pandemic dies down. This is just one of the relationship lessons shared during the recently held JMMB Group Goal Getter Live Series.

The series has been having a solid and successful run over the past couple of weeks, and recently, host Kerry-Ann Stimpson invited London-based relationship experts and married couple Paul and Jill Brunson to discuss and engage viewers on the topic ‘Building Your Relationships During COVID-19 – Families, Singles and Couples’. Paul is no stranger to the JMMB Group. He was in Jamaica last year as a keynote speaker, giving a presentation on pursuing your dreams and setting and reaching those goals. This time around, he was joined by who he described as his better half to spark insight into matters of the heart during coronavirus and quarantine.

Flair has decided to shift the discussion to focus solely on the dynamics affecting singles and couples.

“I think this is a moment of truth for all of us. Where we all can connect is that we now truly appreciate every breath, every minute, every moment. And it’s very important, as we now look forward, to think about how you can create more moments,” Paul pointed out. He continued by saying, “I think that’s what it’s about, whether that’s you, independently, or in a relationship. You want to figure out how you can use this time of reflection to create more moments.”

He also said that during this time, there will be a lot of people breaking up. It is a moment of reckoning when we can come out stronger and better.

Couples’ conversation

So the big question was asked, why are marriages struggling at this time? One of the obvious answers is that many husbands and wives are on lockdown and are seeing their spouse 24/7. Since the focal point of this presentation was to bring positive perspectives to the forefront, the experts jumped right into answering with these relationship strategies.

Communicate, listen and (re)assess

According to Jill, one of the best strategies to employ in making your marriage work mid-COVID-19 is communication. “Let your partner know what you’re going through. Ask your partner if you can have some support in this area because ‘this is where I’m feeling weak right now’,” she said. She also noted that when you disagree, you need to compromise: “So many times, you want to stick to your positions, but it’s important to find a middle ground and be willing to give because you see that your partner has certain needs and you want them to feel comfortable to make it through this hardship.”

Paul chimed in, sharing that while a lot of couples who will grow apart, it is not really a bad thing. “There are so many people who should not be in a relationship, anyway, and most of you are in a relationship with someone you shouldn’t be with. You know it deep down,” he said. He made mention that on average, people see their partners three hours per day, before and after work. “Now, they’re seeing them every waking moment. They then realise that who they married or who they are is not who they thought.”

Persons tend to go into fixing mode with their partners, which he said helps no one. What he encouraged, instead, is reassessing and rethinking, looking at what ‘separates you together’ as an opportunity to go live life fully. “There’s nothing wrong with you; you’re just in the wrong relationship.”

The trio touched on communication a bit more, broadening the scope to listening in order to really understand what is needed and expected from a significant other.

Know what you need to keep moving, and feed yourself first

Kerry-Ann asked the question, is trying to find time apart while sheltering safely under the same roof still healthy? Jill’s response: absolutely. She and her husband have been in quarantine for five weeks, and in that period, they’ve taken the time to ensure that they have all that they need: time together, as well as time apart. “This is working out really well for us because we respect each other. And we encourage it among our boys,” Jill said. Jill takes her alone time in the morning, getting up even earlier to exercise so that she can deal with anything thrown at her during the day.

Add spice to your life

Paul asserted that in his profession, he has discovered that the stronger couples do more activities together, and the weaker couples do fewer. The duo provided three spicy recommendations that have worked for them.

Cook together as a couple. That way, you share the responsibility and have fun at the same time.

Have a date night: sit back, relax, and enjoy a movie or series together.

After glasses of wine, talk about goals and future plans.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com

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