Since the coronavirus quarantine began in March, millions of couples found themselves isolated at home with only their partner for company. With reports of increased divorces occurring in China, many relationship experts feared that the COVID-19 quarantine would have a similar impact on American marriages, and thus far, they haven’t been wrong.
However, coronavirus does not have to spell the end of romance and intimacy in your relationship…just the opposite. If we use this time mindfully, I really see this time of isolation as an invitation.
Our current climate of upheaval and social change, coupled with the quarantine, has led many of our ‘shadows’ to come to the surface…those parts of ourselves that are more insecure, anxious, controlling or aggressive. But this can actually inspire deeper self-inquiry and greater intimacy.
Right now, the things that bug you about your partner are likely more pronounced and prevalent than ever before. but this can offer timely motivation for you to look deeper into yourself and into the reasons why you selected your partner in the first place.
Your partner’s shadow side actually offers illumination into the parts of yourself which most require attention.
While your partner’s greatest assets have a shadow side, these qualities of their personalities can actually serve you, if you allow them to. I firmly believe that your partner’s shadows are part of what drew the two of you together in the first place, and are directly related to your deepest, earliest wounds and the healing you are seeking.
Let’s say your partner is a very sensitive, artistic person. Perhaps the shadow side of those gifts is that she is very sensitive to criticism and withdraws when you express negative feedback. How does that withdrawal make you feel? What does it touch within you?
Perhaps it speaks to your fear of abandonment and need for safety and security, your codependent habit of sacrificing your own truth or inner peace in order to make others comfortable and secure their love for you. Right now, you’re being given an incredible invitation to look at that shadow side of your partner and how it triggers YOUR shadow side.
So, can you commit to holding space for this idea? To being on the lookout for signs that your partner might be in his/her shadow, or that you might be in yours?
When you recognize your partner is in their shadow space, you don’t have to run from it or shut down. Realize that we all have a shadow and it’s not a negative thing, but rather part of who we are as people and part of our way of coping with the world. Then ask yourself how your partner’s frustrating behavior or quality may be serving you or your relationship right now.
Look for the way your partner’s shadows may be triggering your own shadows and how that can be beneficial, because it guides you to think deeply about why you chose your partner and what work you need to accomplish together.
Hence, while COVID-19 is creating turmoil and isolation to an unprecedented degree, it can be a time of incredible potential and growth for couples.