34: Keeping Love Alive in the Time of Covid

Dr. Terri Orbuch, aka “The Love Doctor,” is an expert on love relationships. She is also an author, speaker, therapist, professor at Oakland University, and researcher at the University of Michigan. She has authored six books, including, “5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great” and “Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship.” Terri is also the director of a landmark study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she has been following the same 373 couples for almost three decades. She’s appeared on tons of national media and her relationship segments are aired on Fox-TV Detroit. Her PBS TV program is titled, “Secrets from The Love Doctor.”  Now she’s here on the HappiNest podcast to share her love secrets with us!

If you like what you hear, I’d really appreciate it if you would subscribe, rate and review the show. It’s easy to do on Apple Podcasts, or you can go directly to the podcast section of my website at judyhollandauthor.com.

Here’s what you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • No one is accustomed to spending 24-7 with their romantic partner. Usually, we have the distractions of friends, activities and work.
  • Remember to have fun with each other. Play boardgames, do puzzles, watch funny movies or comedians together. Laughter creates good feelings and arousal that you associate with your partner.
  • To reignite passion and bolster romantic relationships when cooped up at home: Find a novel activity you both would like to do together. You might take a virtual Spanish or cooking class.
  • An online dance or exercise class triggers hormones and adrenaline that transfer to your relationship and can reignite passion you had the beginning of your relationship.
  • Create mysterious or surprising activities. If it’s your partner’s birthday or an anniversary, decorate the living room, kitchen or bedroom. If your partner is surprised or wowed, it will create passion and excitement.
  • Reveal personal information about yourself, which builds and maintains trust in a relationship and prompts your partner to do the same. Trust is an essential ingredient in any romantic relationship. It means that our partner is open and honest and has our best interests at heart. Self-disclosure also builds a couple identity—the “we” factor. When a couple thinks of themselves as a team, it creates intimacy.
  • Now that many of us are home most of the time, we need to give each other space, privacy and time alone, but also find time to do interesting things together. Rather than telling your partner you need space away from them, which sends confusing signals, say you need time to walk, or have a virtual talk with your best friend. Time for the self is really very important, particularly now.
  • Share your concerns, anxieties and fears with your partner and family members, but don’t do it all day! Do it during one period of time, like breakfast or dinner.
  • Accept that everyone sheltering in the house may have a different response to the challenges of covid-19. Empathize.
  • Take care of yourself. Sleep and eat well, do exercise, meditate and relax.
  • When living under stay-at-home orders, create structure in the household. Hold a family meeting and set up rules like who will make dinner. Schedule in family fun as well.
  • If your romantic relationship was already in trouble, staying home around the clock could exacerbate the stress. But if your relationship was good or great, you can use these simple strategies to appreciate your partner even more.