Though the specifics of marriage vows vary from couple to couple, the sentiment of staying together through sickness and health is common in most of them. This year, however, has changed many things. Sadly, many marriages have suffered the strain of the pandemic. Though these times are difficult, COVID-19’s effect on American marriages is not completely negative. The Institute for Family Studies reports significant challenges for married couples, but it also reports that the pandemic has affected many marriages positively as well.

The Pandemic Has Many Couples Stressed

It stands to reason that people in marriages turn to one another for support. In times of high stress or crisis, this can often backfire into misdirected anger or resentment. Though our partners share our joyful moments, they often receive the brunt of our anger as well. It’s no secret that this pandemic is full of stressors, and some marriages are hurting because of it. The main reported stressor plaguing marriages in 2020 is financial. With millions of layoffs, cutbacks, and unemployment on this rise, this is likely not a surprise.

Many couples who were unsure of whether they should stay together realize that divorce is their next step. Though this can be a relief to both spouses, knowing how to tell their children and the rest of the family can be challenging.

Weddings Are on Hold

Married couples aren’t the only ones feeling stress. Engaged or committed couples face challenges due to the restrictions on gathering and financial nest eggs becoming depleted. Many engaged couples opt to postpone their weddings until it is safe to celebrate as they choose, rather than altering their plans to fit ever-changing restrictions. The decline in rates can also be attributed to the rising unemployment rate. For many couples, a lavish wedding is simply no longer an option financially.

Because so many people have seen a decline in income this year, it stands to reason that extraneous expenses such as a wedding be the first budgetary cut for families. For myriad reasons, American marriage rates were already at an all-time low before COVID-19 hit, and the pandemic surely isn’t helping. The rates may trend upward post-pandemic, as those who postponed their plans during 2020 head to the proverbial chapel.

Divorce Rates Are Down

Though many are reporting an uptick in marital troubles since quarantining and overcoming the current pandemic’s challenges, many report just the opposite. For some, staying at home together has made the couple closer.  In fact, over half of American couples are reporting that they both appreciate their spouse more than they did before the 2020 pandemic. Some even suggest that they are more committed to their marriages than ever before. Rather than allowing stress to break them apart, couples are overwhelmingly leaning in and leaning on one another. Though it’s true that some couples’ quarantine stress led to separation or divorce, the overarching trend is not divorce but problem-solving and deeper commitment.

Married Couples Are Becoming More Intimate

Though COVID-19 has significantly dampened the frequency of intercourse for single or dating folks, it seems that married and cohabiting couples have seen a boost in the frequency at which they have sex. For some, this physical intimacy has led to a better emotional connection. Though stress often causes a decrease in libido, physical intimacy often strengthens relationships and vice-versa. It would seem that though the stress of this year is painfully apparent, the emotional connection brought about by stress may be leading to more vibrant sex lives.

Couples Know One Another Better 

For couples who normally partake in busy lives, the pandemic provides the unique opportunity of free time with one’s spouse. Rather than acting as passing ships, couples have been forced to spend time together and are overall finding it a positive experience. This, mixed with partnered pandemic problem solving, is allowing many couples to become reacquainted with one another, and an overwhelming many are finding it to be a positive experience. Given the anxiety of the world, American marriages are generally turning COVID-19 into an opportunity to deepen intimacy.

Some people are finding that they love the camaraderie of their partner but don’t feel the same affection they once did. One partner may be ready to dissolve the marriage but is looking to ensure their spouse takes the change well.

Call the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rodgers for Help

Though there have been several opinions on both sides of the idea, according to studies from the Institute of Family Studies, the pandemic’s effect on marriage is overwhelmingly positive. If this is not the case for you or you have any questions about California’s family law, be sure to contact the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rodgers. Whether you are considering a legal separation or divorce, our firm will consider your situation individually and with dignity.