Even during the best of times, marriage is hard. It takes a lot of time and work to learn how to share the same space, establish household responsibilities, and be on the same page when it comes to parenting, finances, and what the perfect vacation looks like.

Add in a global pandemic, and it becomes ridiculously hard. COVID-19 has been in our lives for nearly a year and a half, and in that time, we’ve spent a lot of time with our spouses. A LOT OF TIME. Probably more than we ever have before. And as much as we love them, they can be a bit annoying every once in a while.

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While these feelings of annoyance are to be expected it’s important that we intentionally find ways to create more harmony at home. The good news? It’s a lot easier than you may think.

Acknowledge The Small Stuff

When we’re with each other day after day, week after week, and month after month it’s easy to become oblivious to what each person contributes in an effort to keep things running smoothly. Perhaps you oversee all of the kids’ school-related stuff and your spouse handles all maintenance around the house. Everybody wants to feel appreciated for their efforts, and a quick word of thanks and acknowledgment can go a long way. 

Make Some Moments About All About Your Spouse

Every once in a while, invite your partner to call the shots. Perhaps let him pick what you have for dinner one evening or what movie you’ll watch afterward. The only requirement is that you enthusiastically accept whatever he chooses! By being willing to occasionally go along with his choices, he’ll feel special and valued. And who knows? You may even enjoy that sci-fi flick that he’s been wanting to see for months.

Accept Who He Is

Accept who he is and what makes him happy. For example, my husband loves rock and ice climbing. I don’t get it, but I know when he’s out there doing his thing, he comes back rejuvenated, happy, and centered. Whatever it is that your spouse enjoys that puts them in a positive mind space (assuming it’s not self-destructive or dangerous, of course) give him the freedom to do it. During stressful times we have to find ways to experience moments of joy, and if he happens to get those feelings through video games, exercise, or in some other way, encourage him to do it. If you happen to share the same interests, great . . . otherwise, encourage him to do whatever it takes to bring him some happiness.

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Care About What He Cares About

This doesn’t mean you have to be into everything he’s into, but if he loves his fantasy football league and excitedly tells you his team is winning, show enthusiasm. In reality, you may not care one itty-bitty bit about football, fantasy stuff, or anything that even slightly resembles either of those things, but he does. And since he’s sharing something he cares about with you, share in his excitement. Not because you care about it, but because you care about him.

Everyone processes stressful situations differently, and it’s only natural that we get on each other’s nerves a bit more when we’re feeling this way. There are so many things we can’t control in life. Instead of dwelling on the things we can’t control, let’s focus on what we can . . . and one of those is building our relationship with our partner. Of course, it’ll never be perfect, but with a little bit of effort, we can create a little more harmony at home.

Lisa Dimino White

Known as "The Joy Seeker," Lisa Dimino White inspires others to actively seek out and create more joy for themselves, their communities, and all of humankind. She does this through her book and podcast, both titled "Bursting with Happiness," professional speaking, and personal coaching where she gives clients the tools to live their bestand happiestlives. Learn more about her at www.thejoyseeker.com