Most married people have vowed, in the ceremony that binds them, to some form of "until death do us part," but I don't think we envisioned a day when that would also become 24/7.
Spending all day every day with the man I've been married to for more than three decades isn't as hard as it sounds. We've been retired together for about a year, and we coexist mostly in harmony. He does his thing and I do mine.
My research shows couples unaccustomed to spending time outside a normal routine with one another, are having a harder time adjusting than retired folks. They are succumbing to the stress of being together, coping with children and anxiety over the stock market and the world in general.
An article on the Haute Living website reports a spike in requests for divorce and separation information in the United States in the wake of the pandemic.
My nest has been empty for years, and while I am fortunate to play a significant role in the lives to two lively grandsons, we are being isolated from them for now. So, I don't have any sage advice for those having to cope with children and a spouse 24/7.
But in the traditions of the ages, the elders offer up some tips for those who are without children and have to deal with one another day in and day out.
When talking to one another, appear to be listening, but remain oblivious. This limits the opportunity for argument and could save you from a tedious explanation about something you have no interest in hearing about.
Remember, it's OK to waste time. If your spouse is goofing off with her iPad, don't take it as an opportunity to suggest what she should be doing.
If you happen to encounter one another, perhaps in the kitchen, share a hug. It might be awhile before you see one another again.
Get together at mealtime, but have a crossword puzzle and pencil close by. The activity is good for your brain and limits the possibility of digestion upsetting conversation.
And in the age old wisdom of my father, "Don't sweat the small stuff." Overlook the annoying little habits that make you go "duh," because you can rest assured your spouse is doing the same. You might think you have no annoying tics, but you do, and it is important for continued harmony to just breath and think of those who have no one else in their immediate surroundings to annoy them.
In the COVID-19 world, it is an extravagance to be annoyed and a virtue to not react.
(Author's note: I've had fun with this exercise in trying to put a lighter spin on the world's current situation. The idea has run it's course however, so to everyone who enjoyed Observations From Isolation, thanks for reading. If I am further inspired as this situation drags on, I'll pass the results on to the editor, but weekly inspiration is unlikely)