TAMPA, Fla. - Mary Beth Margason and her husband Doug are celebrating 27 years of togetherness.
"Scheduled our classes so we could be together during the day because we had full-time jobs and that was the only time we could be together during the day," said Doug.
Now they are more bonded than ever. Not only do they work for the same insurance company, but since COVID, they've turned their home base into their office space.
"With the prior working situations, we could actually move apart when we needed to or have some time or have a break. But when everything was shut down, there was nowhere we could go to take a break. So we did take some breaks together but it's been together literally 24/7," continued Doug.
And that's led to some obstacles.
"It generated a lot of emotions, frustration," said Mary Beth.
"It seems to come on when there are unmet expectations," offered Doug.
But therapist Dr. Dae Sheridan has some advice for couples in these circumstances: "Don't sweep things under the rug right now because the rug is already so big because of the pandemic."
She notes that it's important for couples to put their cards on the table.
"Meet each other where you're at, being able to be honest, whether you have frustrations, whether you're exhausted, whether you're feeling disconnected. To be able to say, ‘I love you and you love me but there's something we could be doing more,’" said Dr. Sheridan.
"It's been a learning experience. We've had to learn to communicate more when we haven't necessarily needed to, what our needs are, what kind of space we need," said Mary Beth.
It's important to give each other grace.
"So if you snap at each other or if you're feeling very tense just be mindful of that and apologizing, accepting apologies easier because we're all under a lot of pressure," advised Dr. Sheridan.
Prioritizing personal time when you're both working from home is also crucial.
"We have to be a little bit more creative about spending time together, being intentional about date nights you can do them at home after the kids go to bed," Dr. Sheridan added.
"Sometimes we'll go out to eat for breakfast and start work when we would have around that same time in the office rather than jumping right on in the morning," agreed Doug.
Therapists say creating separate workspaces in your home as the Margasons have can also be helpful.