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  • How To Practice Marital Patience: Expert Says Pray 'To' Each Other

    COVID-19 is testing the strength of relationships. Here's your maintenance drug.
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
How To Practice Marital Patience: Expert Says Pray 'To' Each Other
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  • The COVID-19 pandemic has found many of us dealing with unusual times. This new normal can be challenging for everyone, including couples — or should we say, most especially couples.

    The new routine and proximity may reveal new behaviors and attitudes that we never thought our partners had. As self-care and inner wholeness coach Harriet Hormillosa says, “We may be exposed to COVID, but COVID may also expose a lot of things about us.”

    Hormillosa, the founder of the Reintegration for Care and Wholeness Foundation, Inc., (RCWFI), recently shared valuable tips on “Exercising Marital Patience in the Time of COVID” during an online session titled “Breakdown to Breakthrough.” It was organized by Miriam College through its Family Studies Department, Center for Peace Education, and the College of Arts and Sciences Department.

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    Quarantine may give rise to emotional upheaval

    During the session, Hormillosa talks about the “emotional upheaval” that may arise among couples at this time of lockdown and quarantine. She defines emotional upheaval as that state where couples feel overwhelmed because of mental and emotional overload brought about by the pandemic.

    “[Couples] will be wondering how they could take care of the children, family, and themselves. On top of this, they also have to deal with losses — the loss of normalcy, structures, sense of safety, control, income, and connection,” she enumerates.

    Hormillosa also warns that cabin fever may give rise to impatience. Husband and wife will definitely need to do a balancing act such as sharing or delineating space where they can work as well as balancing child care, she says. “All these could give rise to a lot of emotions and would usually manifest in the form of impatience.”

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    How couples can make their marriage stronger

    COVID-19 is a real test for many couples. To make the marriage work under these extraordinary circumstances, both partners must focus on the good that comes out of it. Hormillosa shares the three C’s that may help couples stay positive and cope at this time of COVID.

    1 Care for self and the other

    “Observe those ‘me’ times,” says Hormillosa. This can come in the form of resting a bit more, giving yourself some free time, taking longer showers, drinking your coffee somewhere else, and prayer time.

    This period is also a time for being honest with one’s feelings. “It’s okay to feel. These are abnormal times, and there will be a lot of this that you have to deal with.”

    Together, couples can plan a couple time, Hormillosa adds. “Even if you are at home, just really have your couple time.” It can be something as simple as sitting together, cuddling, having pillow talks, asking what the other feels like eating, watching TV, or playing along with the kids together.

    The point is to balance togetherness with alone time. “Just because you are both at home doesn’t mean that you have to be together all the time,” she says.

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    2 Communication or checking in with each other

    Couples who already have issues before the lockdown may find being confined with the other 24/7 to be even more challenging. But this could be an opportune time to negotiate conflicts, says Hormillosa. She adds this is the time to talk to discuss any problems or disputes, so it is important to ‘feel and listen’ to one another.

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    “Anticipate disagreements, agree on priorities and why you have to talk about these things, consider what is negotiable and not, validate and support each other,” she expounds and adds, “Observe HALE: have Higher Acceptance and Lower Expectations.”

    3 Channel grace for each other

    The spiritual is just as important as the emotional and physical aspects. Hormillosa emphasizes the need to strengthen each other’s faith by praying together, praying for each other, and — though unconventional — praying “to” each other.

    “What would you want the other person to be able to respond to you as a prayer?” she asks.

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    While doing this, it is essential to maintain positivity and avoid aggravation or stressful situations and topics. This way, both partners will find meaning in a most unusual event like the pandemic. “Look at the silver lining in all of these.  Give positive feedback and affirm one another and be grateful for what you both have,” she says.

    In observing and practicing the three Cs during this critical time, couples can come out of the lockdown stronger and in better harmony with each other. Moreover, the time together may reveal and solidify the values that you both hold dear.

    “[In the process], you will be open to change. Hopefully, you also will be more compassionate and collaborative with the rest of the world,” she concludes.

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