Have we ever spent so much time with our spouse? In quarantine, in addition to worrying and praying for those who are ill, we are spending all day with our spouse within the four walls of our home. Quarantine is a challenge. Some days can feel exhausting and scary, while other days might feel fun and precious. With kids at home, there are non-stop activities and constant demands on our time and energy.

With that said, quarantine can also be a time to deepen our relationship with our spouse. Carving out time for our marriage often ends up giving us back more energy than we invested. Embarking on "The Quarantine Quest" can help you turn these challenging times into a journey towards deeper understanding and greater intimacy.

 

Suggestion:

Print out these questions and cut them into 10 strips.

Fold the strips and place them in a jar.

Each night, when the kids are all in bed and the house is quiet, sit down with one another and select a question to explore and discuss.

Share your thoughts and feelings with your spouse openly, with no judgment. Greater closeness and intimacy requires the courage of vulnerability.

1. Being Present:

Throughout the day there are times when we are fully present for our partner and other times when we are busy or distracted. Are there times when you feel that your partner is fully present for you? Are there other times when you wish your partner was more present for you?

What helps you be more present for your partner when they need you?

2. Mystery:

The longer we have known our spouse the more familiar we are with them. Sometimes, especially when sharing many hours in the house together, we yearn for our spouse to feel less familiar and more mysterious and exciting.

Have there been moments when you feel you didn’t fully understand your partner, when you feel they are surprisingly mysterious? What did it feel like to suddenly not know your partner? Can you think of a moment when your spouse's "otherness" felt uncomfortable and another moment when it felt exciting?

3. Masculinity and Femininity:

Some homes follow a traditional division of roles where a man focuses his energy on bringing financial stability to his home and a woman on bringing stability to their home and their children. In modern times many of these roles are shared. Corona has created some confusion as to who needs to be doing what.

As a man – What contributions do I make to our home that I see as masculine? Are there any contributions I make that I might see as an expression of my feminine side?

As a woman - What contributions do I make to our home that I see as feminine? Are there any contributions I make that I might see as an expression of my masculine side?

Is there anything about my contributions or my partner's contributions that I wish was different?

4. Harmony:

There are times in a relationship when we disagree with our partner and express different points of view. There are other times when we experience our partner and ourselves as one entity, in sync with one another, wanting the same things. Sometimes these are moments when I experience my own generosity as effortless. Share with your partner a moment when you felt a harmony between yourself and your partner.

5. Joint and Solo Responsibilities:

During quarantine many men who usually leave the house to go to work every day are working from home or are on leave. When one partner is home more than usual questions can surface about who is responsible for what around the house and with the kids. These questions can lead to temporary changes or to permanent changes.

As a couple, are there any responsibilities that you feel are one-sided? What matters do you see as your own sole responsibility? What responsibilities do you see as joint responsibilities? Are there any changes that you wish would happen in this array of responsibility?

6. Seeing Our Partner's Divine Spark:

As Jews we believe that our partner has a soul, a Divine spark within them. Often, when we are in our element one can see that we are expressing something unique and special. There are moments when we see someone else acting or expressing themselves in a way that leads us to feel that they are expressing something broader and deeper than their personalities, something beautiful.

Was there a moment in time when you felt you saw a Divine spark in your partner? Was there a moment in time when you felt a desire and a willingness to fully support your partner in their individual development?

Share your memories with your partner.

7. Expressing our Needs:

Sometimes we argue with our spouse and feel angry when we feel that our needs are not being met. The following psychological perspective invites us to move from focusing on concrete circumstances to an inner emotional level.

Think of a time when your spouse made you feel angry or when they made you feel depressed. Try to pinpoint what it was that made you so bitter.

Now try to think about what needs might underlie your bitterness. What is it that you needed that you didn’t get? What can you tell your spouse about this emotional need? Is it a need that comes up in other situations as well?

Share with your partner what you have learned about yourself

8. Appreciating Having a Home:

Quarantine is keeping many of us at home. This shift has led some of us to realize just how central and important our home and our immediate family is.

Think of a time when you were single and really wanted to have your own place. What was it that you yearned for most when you wanted to live on your own? What did you envision when you dreamed of creating your own home? Share your memories and your dreams with your partner.

What do you love most about living in your own home today?

9. Parents:

During corona we have been told to stay away from our parents if they are older. Sometimes being separated from our parents for a certain period of time allows us to reflect on the similarities and the differences between the home we grew up in and the home we created.

What traditions/customs/values have you experienced as a child that you want to be part of your home?

Are there other places where you know you would especially like to express your own individuality?

10. Tzedaka:

During corona the world is in a tremendous time of need. Quarantine has impacted so many people in so many negative ways. While we might be feeling the negative effects of the virus ourselves, we can still think about the resources we do have from which we can help our community and our nation. In Judaism tzedakah includes giving money as well as giving a helping hand, an open ear, a kind word and a creative idea.

As a couple, what resources do you feel you have from which you would like to give? Are there ways in which you can express your generosity while still in quarantine?