real life

'I was convinced my husband and I were heading for divorce. Then COVID-19 hit.'

We are a busy family. Well, we are normally a busy family. Life at the moment is anything but normal though.

Hubby has been ‘stood down’ from the retail sector, our primary school-aged boys are learning from home, and I’m still in the office five days a week thanks to an unusually large office for the five staff that we have.

Outside of lockdown, our days are scheduled right down to shower times in the morning to ensure everyone is out the door on time and the days run like clockwork.

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Life has become a permanent scheduling task and the responsibility seems to fall squarely on me. However, this has been a situation of my own doing.

Over the years, I have morphed from being an independent woman who loved many components of my life to being the co-ordinator and timekeeper for my family, friends and employer.

I am the one who organises the group dinners, the work functions, the family schedule, and social obligations.

I have become so dependable for this that many people in my life don’t even bother to try to do these things anymore. They just wait for me to get around to it.

Because of this, I allowed the one thing that makes all of these things mean something fade to the background. My marriage.

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Now, the world has stopped.

No more dinners, functions, social obligations. My husband is home full-time (paid leave, thankfully) and has taken on the challenging task of getting our boys through the schooling from home period.

I get to leave every morning and head to the office. I’m still able to participate in adult face-to-face conversation and work responsibilities (socially distanced of course!).

Grocery shopping and dinners are generally not mine to organise and for the first time in many years, the housework is a shared task.

My husband and I are seeing life from each other’s perspective and it’s incredible.

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Instead of going through the daily motions as roommates with benefits, we are getting to know each other again.

We have become the team that I was always so proud of.

Instead of passing the blame, muttered side comments, resenting the unfair workload (on both sides) and the unbalanced personal time, we are on the same side again.

We have had long conversations and many fights over things that have bugged us individually for years and we are working through these issues together. Left unchecked, these issues would have brought us to eventual divorce, this I am sure of.

Coronavirus has forced us to face our marriage challenges. We can no longer avoid them by filling our days with work, friends, the kids, finances or home maintenance. We are home together, stuck in each other’s company with nothing but time. We have been given the opportunity of a re-set and we are grabbing it with both hands.

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