The lockdown is an opportunity for many couple to bond
Senyonyi says the bond usually grows when couples are together more often than not. “In other words, you learn much more from each other. Let this period show couples that it is a good thing to be together and that is how it is supposed to be,” Senyonyi says.
COVID-19 | LOVE | RELATIONSHIPS
Many people are stressed these days and in one way or the other, they need someone on their side Rebuilding relationships With the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has calmed down, with different countries announcing the lockdown of business and movement of its citizens.
In Uganda, President Museveni announced the lockdown on March 30, leaving couples at each other's mercy in their places of abode.
Relationship experts Saturday Vision spoke to say this time could be well spent building broken relationships and nurturing them too, write David Lukiiza and Maureen Nakatudde
According to the Mothers Union president, Josephine Kasaato, there is no single tried and true recipe for love and successful relationships, but different approaches work for different couples.
Kasaato says many researchers have studied what motivates people to stay together and happy all the time.
"We should all agree that love is 24/7 and remember that you started this relationship with your partner on purpose. Therefore, the lockdown should be a tool to turn the nuts of love again," she says.
Kasaato says some couples live together when their love is beyond repair, while others are together, but already divorced.
She says couples thrive when there is a balance between time spent together and apart.
However, creating separate space during the lockdown may prove more difficult than ever. In this case, she says it is important for a spouse to have some time alone for an hour or two daily.
"This can be in your garden, in the children's bedroom, home library, or anywhere you can have time alone," she says.
Kasaato says one should communicate to their partner that they need personal time and this could be done differently each day
Kasaato says couples can work on building oneness, especially if they did not have it before and this could be initiated by either partner.
"Adjusting to life in a COVID-19 world requires significant transitions. For example, never before have we had to stay home for extended periods," she says.
Kasaato suggests that couples can set up a routine for themselves and the family.
"You can set up time to exercise, when to have meals and for those working from home you can devote specific hours to office work. You can choose to do a DIY (do it yourself) project together as this can resurrect the relationship with your spouse and the family," she says.
Kasaato adds that while this exercise may seem simple, the brains of human beings love and crave structure-like routines.
Make the most of it
The lockdown has undeniably come with some challenges, but it has also availed couples the opportunity to do things at home that they ordinarily would not have done.
Men, especially, should take the time to do chores with their wives or lovers so that they learn what it takes to run a clean home. Since they are more muscular, they can put their muscles to good use by cleaning windows and vents, trimming hedges, washing tough clothes, such as jeans and cutting grass.
In an effort to connect with their significant other, men can cook and wash dishes with their spouses so as to nurture a spirit of camaraderie. Who knows, the camaraderie may even turn out to be very subtle foreplay, especially if there are kids in the house.
Guston Byamugisha, a relationship psychologist, says this is the season for couples to make things happen.
"In moments of stress, the mind always gets into a series of "what ifs," and then we get swept up in a gulf of unknowns. Therefore, do not be eaten up alone by thoughts in this time, but plan with your partner," he says.
Byamugisha says planning together is helpful to periodically remind each other to take things one day at a time.
"Put your heads together and brainstorm ways to take care of the essentials at home as well as how you can plan for your children's homeschooling," he adds.
Byamugisha suggests that for couples that plan to work from home, you need to come up with a schedule which is well-known to both of you so as to avoid the collision in the home.
"Planning as a couple is essential in a way that you will always have a clear schedule of when to go for physical exercise, shopping, how to manage water and electricity bills, as well as medical bills," he says.
Byamugisha suggests that couples should come up with a simple and feasible plan that fits the directives of the Government during this COVID-19 lockdown because teamwork is necessary.
Having quality time together during this period will go along way in keeping the fire of love burning
"The COVID -19 nightmare is more difficult than was anticipated because it is something we have never faced before. However, if your partner's behaviour is unusual, pay extra attention to their mood swings and be mindful not to internalise or read into them," Hamidah Namatovu, a marriage counsellor, says.
She says if one feels responsible for triggering them emotionally, ask directly and calmly and if they say the mood has nothing to do with you, believe it.
"You will realise that everyone will react to this rapidly-shifting landscape in their own unique way and it is not your job to jump into your partner's brain and determine their thoughts," Namatovu advises.
She adds that many people are stressed these days and in one way or the other, they need someone on their side.
Enjoy each other
Contrary to what some couples believe, that giving each other space makes a relationship better, Dr Ruth Senyonyi, a counsellor, disagrees. "A lot of time people think they should work upcountry in order to bond with their partners, but a relationship does not work well when you are not together," she says.
Senyonyi says the bond usually grows when couples are together more often than not. "In other words, you learn much more from each other. Let this period show couples that it is a good thing to be together and that is how it is supposed to be," Senyonyi says.
You are not alone
Namatovu reminds couples that COVID-19 is a global issue and, therefore, couples should not think they are alone in this situation.
"The feelings you are experiencing — fear, anxiety, anger and frustration — are normal. So, as a couple, do not let your emotions dictate how you treat or react to your partner," she says.
Namatovu says this time is a blessing in disguise for lovers to pull together and draw on the unique strengths of their relationship.
Learn more about each other
Instead of thinking about how boring your partner is, Senyonyi encourages couples to use this time to learn more about each other.
"You should, for instance, find out more about who they are and what they like. Get into their lives and come to love it," Senyonyi says.
"Think of it as having a baby that you do not see every day. You will miss out on the important developments and bonding with the baby," she adds.
Having discovered the things your partner likes, you can then offer them support. She says in the event that you find the things they like are not your best, you should endeavour to show interest by being there for your spouse all the same.
"My husband, for instance, likes walking, however, I do not like it; but I go along with him anyway. While we walk, we bond as we talk and get to know more about each other," Senyonyi says.