How To Not Kill Your Spouse While In Quarantine

In my home, we are coming up to day number 50 in quarantine. 5-0! I can’t even comprehend how this whole ordeal has been going on for that long. That’s a significant period of time, so much so that what used to be the weird, new routine with my husband working from home, no gym, church, or regular shopping has now become our new normal. This feels like it just simply is how life is now. The end. I’m not saying that I like it, but that’s what it feels like.

Anyway, this means that my husband and I have not had much more than a few hours of one of us running errands to being in different places, and I am proud to say we have not killed each other yet. As a matter of fact, quarantine has not impacted our relationship in any negative way whatsoever, and I feel like that is a massive accomplishment. We have figured out how to have him work from home and have me being able to do my own thing, whether it’s work in my office or do the cleaning or other homemaking, all in the same house at the same time. It’s a miracle.

Seeing other people complain about their spouses during this time got me thinking about how the heck we actually managed to make this work, and I think it came down to a few things, which is what I want to share with you today. Here are 5 things that my husband and I are doing that are making being quarantined together a piece of cake.

Spoiler alert: Constantly having an open line of honest communication is KEY here. That has to go without saying.

1. Set Boundaries and Expectations

As soon as we knew my husband would be working from home we sat down and talked logistics. It was important for us to make sure we understood our needs throughout the day so we both could get things done. He has a desk and office set up in our guest bedroom and I have my own office. General rules we live by include:

  • If one of our office doors are closed we can’t be interrupted. This typically happens when he’s on a call or when I am filming content. This is also a signal that being a little quieter would be appreciated.
  • I set a rule for dinner time. My husband eats on a weird schedule and sometimes doesn’t come down for dinner until 7:30 or 8. I can’t wait that long, so I set the expectation that if I was doing to the cooking (which I happily will do daily), it needs to be at a time that works for me. So to compromise, I told him dinner will be around 6:30. Not as early as I prefer, but not as late as he prefers. A happy medium that allows me to schedule my day and allows him to know when to expect dinner to be on the table.
  • Who does what chores. I do most of the chores around here, but my husband is willing and able to tackle a list on the weekends, or maybe even a few weeknight chores like cleaning up the kitchen after I cook, taking out the trash, or tidying up whatever whirlwind of a mess he might have made during the day. Don’t start to get bitter towards your spouse because you didn’t set clear expectations of who is in charge of what around the house.
  • Work hours: I know that as a general rule my husband is unavailable for roughly an 11-12 hour window daily. My husband knows that I have a filming day and two one-hour live streams I’m committed to during the week. These are times when we are 100% not available unless we communicate otherwise. Do not expect your spouse to be available if you predetermined what times they’re unavailable

Once you set your boundaries and expectations, you need to stick to them.

2. Get Some Alone Time

I know, you’re quarantined at home so it’s hard to technically be alone, but this needs to be one of your boundaries. Making sure you’re taking the time to do things alone and just for you is super important. Go for a walk or a run, read, spend an hour watching your favorite TV show. I journal first thing in the morning and it’s just me and my coffee and it is glorious. Making sure to take time out for a little bit of self care is essential. Plan it!

3. Intentional Date Nights

Just because we can’t go anywhere doesn’t mean date night isn’t still an essential part of our lives. It is very important to schedule time to be intentional about spending time together. Get creative with your at-home date night ideas. Whatever the case may be, just make sure you’re making the intentional choice to spend time together just the two of you.

4. Have Fun

Take the time to goof off. Laugh. Be goofy. Have a 2-second dance party. Take an hour to turn on your favorite show to watch together or enjoy a quick coffee break. Remember that just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play.

5. Have Plenty of Grace & Patience

At the end of the day, there will always be challenges and frustrations. It’s really important to have a little ton of extra grace and patience for both your spouse and yourself. It’s a weird time we’re living in right now. A lot is uncertain, many people are on edge, and whether you realize it or not, this is taking a toll on you. Be patient with one another. Treat your spouse the way you hope they’d treat you if you have a bad day, get grumpy, or leave the extra dishes out instead of putting them away. This is important always, but especially important now.

Now, just because I’m saying that we’re doing pretty darned well in quarantine doesn’t mean it’s not difficult at times, because it is. We do things that gets on the other’s nerves, work stress causes tensions to be high, and not 5 minutes ago did a change in how my husband’s day is going effect something for me that was frustrating. This time is trying and hard and sad and many other things, but I firmly believe as long as we have that list above and a whole lot of love, we will come out of this the strongest our marriage has ever been.

4 Lessons I’ve Learned in 4 Years of Marriage

It’s hard for me to believe that 4 years ago today I walked down the aisle in my church to marry my best friend: a man who I met so very randomly on a free dating website due to him just happening to search what kind of women might be in the Chicagoland area because maybe someday he plans to go to grad school there (spoiler alert: he didn’t).

Under no logical circumstances should mister and I have Found each other, and I’m sure if it wasn’t for the internet, this Chicago gal and Florida boy would have never crossed paths, but God clearly had another plan. When I received a message from him in my OKCupid inbox, I decide to write back simply because he took the time to write a legitimate message and show he read my profile rather than just sending a “wanna hook up?” message, which I got far too many of. Little did I know that writing back would be the beginning of my relationship with the man I would marry. It’s crazy how things like that work out, isn’t it?

Even though we’ve only known each other since summer of 2011, it feels like no time and a lifetime all at once. I can barely comprehend life before him and I can’t imagine what life would be without my husband by my side. I guess that’s a sign that things are going pretty well, huh?

In these 4 years of marriage, through crazy adventures, moves, job changes, and challenges there are a few things I’ve learned about marriage and the relationship I have with my husband. Read more

Getting Married is Not an Accomplishment…but Marriage IS!

Marriage Accomplishment

Allow me to be more specific: a good marriage, that is.

I’ve seen this article titled “Getting Married is Not an Accomplishment” floating around Facebook and getting shared by various people for a few weeks or so now, and while it made some great points, it’s the reaction and comments of the readers that really got me thinking. 

The entire premise of this article is the getting married part.  The excitement and ritual leading up to the big day.  People are then taking this to mean that marriage is not an accomplishment. I say that getting married and marriage are two very different things, and I do agree that getting married is not an accomplishment. However…

I also believe that a marriage; a good, strong, loving marriage, is a huge accomplishment.

Read more

Happy Birthday to Me: A thought on being 27

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If you asked me a year ago (my 26th birthday) where I’d be on my 27th birthday, my answer would probably not be where I actually ended up.  Last year I was living in my grandfather’s house, so while I was technically living alone, I was not on my own.  I look back on the last year..well really on the last 6 months, and can’t believe what a whirlwind it has been.  Out of nowhere my best friend put a ring on my finger and whisked me away from Illinois to actually be on my own (well, on our own, as I’m only out here because of him), I found a voice teaching job and am now less than two months away from marrying the love of my life.  At this time last year did I think I’d end up here by now?  Not at all.

Erik and I were regularly talking about rings and someday getting engaged, but he had this “rule” about how we needed to live in the same state before we got engaged, just to make sure we worked as well no-distance as we did long distance.  As irritated as I was by this (as I didn’t see any way I was getting to where he was anytime in the future), I understood, and after much emotional fighting with myself, I decided to let go and let God choose the timing of things.  Man, do things get easier when you decide to do that.  Somehow, that rule got changed, my surprise proposal happened and the tornado happened, and now I’m definitely over the rainbow (yeah, I went there.  People who know me understand my Oz obsession).

I’m regularly blown away by how I got here: the dramatic and romantic way it happened, how it feels like we’ve always been together like this, and how baffled I am every time Erik and I tell our story to new people when we’re at socials and parties.  The way people regularly respond (shock, amazement, etc) reminds me of how awesomely blessed I am for having this relationship work the way it has.  Thank God for all of his blessings.

This is my first birthday away from my family (unless you count college, which was an hour away, so it doesn’t count in my mind), and it’s kind of weird knowing I’m not doing anything.  Not that we have done anything that spectacular the past few years (two years ago, right before we started dating, Erik was actually in town to see me and took me out for my birthday), but I’m still getting used to the whole not being around for normal life things that I’ve been around for the last 26 years.  Christmas will be even weirder. I’ve done the exact same thing every single year, and this year I’ll be in Florida with Erik’s family.  I’ll be able to wear a sundress if I want to.. that’s mind blowing.

I haven’t made a big deal about my birthday for awhile now.  I don’t really think it’s necessary.  I love getting a few nice presents and having an occasion to get the family to get together and go out, but I don’t need anything spectacular.  Even for my 21st birthday my friends and I went out to a bar, those of us that could drink had a drink, and I went back to the dorm to do homework.

Every year I do think about how big of a deal birthdays used to be, with themed parties and cakes and a wish list full of toys that get played with for a month or so before becoming another forgotten thing in the playroom. I vaguely remember these huge birthday parties.  I remember various Disney princess themed cakes (Belle and Ariel) and a Power Rangers birthday party (yeah, I was that girl), a spa sleepover party when I was 13, and after that I don’t recall what exactly was done for my birthdays.  One year in high school I had two friends spend the night and we watched movies.  I can’t even recall if I did anything for my 18th birthday.  Is that sad?

Instead, I use my birthday as an excuse to treat myself a little.  I’m expecting my Erin Condren Life Planner by the end of the week, and that was my big gift this year (thanks to my aunt), because I wanted it.  A planner!  Man that makes me feel old.  Tonight’s big exciting birthday plans: curl up on the couch with my wonderful fiancé and make him sit through “The Proposal” starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Renolds.  One of my all time favorite feel good chick flicks.  Maybe we will even go out to dinner so I don’t have to cook..and you know what? That is enough.

The Lord has blessed me in SO many ways throughout my life, that merely getting to another birthday some days feels like a miracle in and of itself.  The fact that I am here, less than two months away from marrying my best friend, living life the way it has turned out is the icing on top of a pretty epic birthday cake.  I’ve always felt so far behind on things, and now I feel like I’m finally catching up.

I can’t wait to see what blessings the next year will bring.  Whatever they happen to be, I know they will be amazing with Erik by my side and our new life together ahead. God is good.

To those of you who have taken the time to read this and/or to wish me a happy birthday, thank you.  It is because of the friends and family I have that I am the woman I am today.

 

Be happy, my friends.