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How to ensure your marriage survives the lockdown

Marriage counsellor Chantal Ferreira gives tips on how to strengthen your marriage during the lockdown and avoid divorce. 

Marriage counselling
Happy couple dancing

An image showing married couples lined up to go to the divorce court is doing the rounds on social media.

Although some people found the image hilarious, for some married couples, it is going to be a reality.

Spending time at the office, attending functions or going out with friends offers one an opportunity to be away from his or her spouse and later reconnect.

The truth is being in the presence of each other 24/7 can cause friction in some relationships.

Marriage councillor Chantal Ferreira says the history of the couple contributes a lot to how their relationship will be affected by the lockdown.

“There are so many things that come into play like the history of the couple and where they are at currently,” says the counsellor.

If the couple’s relationship is already shaky, things might get worse.

Below, Chantal gives tips on how couples can strengthen their relationship and avoid divorce.

Decide to make it work

Chantal says you have to decide to make things work and not allow the lockdown to damage your relationship further.

She says couples must tell themselves: “I will not allow this to separate me from my spouse, and therefore I will be intentional to make lockdown a positive time for my marriage relationship.”

Don’t leave issues hanging

Conflicts are common in every relationship. Chantal says this is the best time to resolve issues.

“If conflict shows up, handle it. The fact is no one can run away now or go anywhere, or get away from each other, so it is better we solve our differences in a healthy way otherwise we will be stuck with it hanging over our heads the whole time,” she says.

But, she also advises couples to handle the conflict in a healthy manner.

Chantal says it is also important to pick the right battles to fight.

“Choose your battles. Some things are not worth fighting about. There are some things that are small, insignificance and because we are all stressed and around each other in our homes the whole time, small things will irritate us. But in those moments, we need to make decisions not to fight about every small thing,” she says.

Give each other space

“You don’t have to spend every moment in each other’s faces,” says Chantal.

She says couples must feel free to do things they enjoy separately without feeling bad.

She encourages people to do things that will make them feel energised and help them recharge.

Revisit your family budget

“Things are uncertain. We aren’t sure what the future holds. It would be good to spy on your money and assess where your money has gone to in the past,” says Chantal.

However, she says this should be done by couples who know how to talk about finances in a healthy way to avoid causing conflict.

Find similar hobbies

“Decide on a few lists of things that you can do together as a couple,” says Chantal.

This can range from games to watching movies.

She says couples must make a list of all the things they would enjoy doing together and on days when they feel bored, they can try them out.

This is a great way to connect as a couple. 

Learn a new skill together

“It is always nice to learn something new together,” says Chantal.

She says this could be the best time to teach each other skills or to do something that you were both wanting to try.

Help each other with chores

“Take turns in who decides what’s for supper and who cooks,” says Chantal.

“We are in our homes the whole time, so we probably eat the whole time – might as well make that a fun activity and take turns in who is responsible for which day.”

She adds that you must also decide who does the grocery shopping and takes care of the kids and other household chores.

This will ensure that no spouse feels overwhelmed by doing everything themselves.

Be intimate

“Have sex. This is the opportunity where you can grow the intimacy in the relationship,” says Chantal.

She adds that sex shouldn’t be neglected, and this is the perfect time to ensure that the love tank is full.

“Spending time in terms of physically being together and being intimate will also be healthy for your relationship,” says Chantal.

Check how your spouse is doing

Chantal says although couples spend the day together, it is still important to ask each other how you are doing.

“Asking the question “how was your day” helps you to learn new things about your spouse and it also gives you an update on their emotional state,” says Chantal.

If you are drowning, seek help

Lastly, Chantal says if couples feel overwhelmed and are thinking of divorce, they need to consider counselling.

“The moment you are considering divorce as an option, then you need to get help,” says Chantal.

Although you might not be able to physically visit a counsellor or psychologist, Chantal says there are many great counsellors who can offer you online counselling.

Source: East Coast Radio (emphasis by SD Law*)

Image courtesy of iStock/ @g-stockstudio

Further reading:

* SD Law, aka Simon Dippenaar & Associates Inc., is a Cape Town law firm, now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, of specialised divorce attorneys and family lawyers. Contact us for help with the divorce process. We can help protect your assets, get you needed monthly maintenance, and safeguard the interests of any children.

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Disclaimer

The information on this website is provided to assist the reader with a general understanding of the law. While we believe the information to be factually accurate, and have taken care in our preparation of these pages, these articles cannot and do not take individual circumstances into account and are not a substitute for personal legal advice. If you have a legal matter that concerns you, please consult a qualified attorney. Simon Dippenaar & Associates takes no responsibility for any action you may take as a result of reading the information contained herein (or the consequences thereof), in the absence of professional legal advice.