Ron Lieber: Put money into the folks you like
During the pandemic, Ms. Reynolds, who lives in Seattle, paid a lawyer to help the loved ones of a deceased friend from Minneapolis who tried to seek legal recourse after her death. “Going through the probate process alone is like walking around a country where they speak a language you’ve never heard of before,” she said.
However, having the money to help friends is not a requirement. In the years after her husband’s death, Ms. Reynolds easily remembered the birthdays and days of death marked by loved ones – or was simply more inclined to write when she thought about them.
“One version of that is, ‘I have more, so I’ll be spending more looking after the people I love,'” said Mr. Woodland, the social worker who runs the network of therapists. “I also think it’s almost easier to spend money than to spend time saying, ‘I give you priority and I want to get to know you in a more intimate way.'”
For couples with children, the time during these 15 months was often their own tense good. Even if you’ve regained your commuting time, you may have been cooped up in a household with two working adults and children who needed all kinds of supervision. It might have been some form of quality time, but it might not be exactly what it took to renew or strengthen your romantic bonds.
For people who want to shore this up, Eve Rodsky offers a counterintuitive option: be just as vigilant when spending time apart as you do time together. Ms. Rodsky, the author of “Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live),” learned this from a survey of 1,000 members of the community they did around their work has built.
Many people have changed during the pandemic. Maybe your partner did in a way that you didn’t even realize. Hence, it is his own act of service to offer time – and a budget – to whoever wishes to become that person.
“Allowing one another to be unavailable is the investment they have in one another,” Ms. Rodsky said in a recent interview. Now she and her husband each have a weekend day to themselves; It’s Saturday this week.