Q: I’ve worked from home for a long time. It went well with my husband at work and my kids at school and daycare during the day. Now they’re all at home, which is getting really old. I’m frustrated with the noise, my kids’ demands, the lack of help from my husband, and the daily chaos. I need advice for my marriage, because I’m so angry with him all the time now. What was easier to manage before is now a constant battle — we fight in front of our kids a lot. I think if we were doing better, it’d be easier all around. Maybe we’re both overreacting. Suggestions please?

A: You’re certainly not alone. We’re all feeling the changes in different ways — there’s heightened stress with isolation at home, while trying to work and parent effectively. This certainly has added strain to relationships, requiring more patience, cherishing what we have. Forgive yourself while you settle into this “new normal,” as it will take time to shape a new routine, to make the necessary adjustments. Your self-care must be a top priority, helping you navigate all the demands and responsibilities.

Marriages are strained when there are opposing needs and perspectives on how to manage the current changes. There is no “overreacting,” — that’s about not being present, instead reacting from your history, your adaptive child. Here are some suggestions:

1. Rather than complaining about what your husband is doing wrong, shift to requesting what you want from him. It’s not OK to complain about something for which you haven’t asked. Be clear about what you’d like him to do.

2. Losing strategies in a marriage are: needing to be right; trying to control your spouse; retaliating; uncensored self-expression (bringing up the past).

3. Successful actions: listen and validate; let go of control; respect; share vulnerability/opening up to partner; ask for what you want.

4. Allow space for each other’s differences — “emotional generosity”; keep in mind that your way is not the only way.

5. No relationship will be completely free of conflict. How the conflict is managed and how your message is delivered count. When you or your partner feels the conflict is escalating, or you’re emotionally unraveling, take a “time out.” Both partners need to understand the process and the goal of time-outs. It’s not a pass, but space to allow the sharp edges of the conflict to soften enough to resume the discussion, to be present and responsive.

This is a time for a collaborative approach, addressing this new reality as a team — for example: “How do WE face this problem? How can each of us get what we want?” There is no right or wrong. The final step is repair, responding to your partner with generosity, to bring you back into connection. Listen to genuinely understand his position, take responsibility for your own behavior, and offer him as much as you can.

“Hurt feelings don’t vanish on their own. They don’t heal themselves. If we don’t express our emotions, they pile up like a debt that will eventually come due.” — Marc Brackett, Ph.D.