For better or worse: 7 ways to cultivate a healthy marriage during the Coronavirus Pandemic
For better or worse.
Those were the vows, right?
For some, being at home with the love of your life might be feeling a little strained right now.
Are you noticing how loudly your spouse chews? (Did he always eat like that?) Maybe, those socks on the side of the bed are getting on your nerves? How hard is it to clean a mug?
Or is he tired of seeing your hair in the shower? Irritated you keep using his charger and not returning it?
Friend, if you said yes to any of these, you might be married during a pandemic.
It doesn’t matter who the culprit is. Those cute little quirks have quickly become big annoyances.
Social distancing requires that we spend more time with our spouses than ever before. We are working, parenting, exercising, and resting within the same rooms in the same home all day.
Even the best of couples can feel some strain during quarantining.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We can choose today to cultivate a healthy marriage even in the midst of this pandemic.
1. Discuss expectations
If your home is like mine, a lot is going on. Between helping our fellas with distance learning and working from home, we are all processing this time in different ways. Our routines have changed. Every week, my hubby and I are adjusting to demands from our jobs and the needs of our fellas.
Communication is necessary.
I am sure your spouse is a great person, but he is NOT a mind reader. You need to discuss your expectations and communicate your needs. When you need something, be specific. Now is not the time for you to be vague, especially if you are upset or offended.
For your marriage to thrive, discussing expectations is a must.
2. Laugh often
Even though my hubby and I have no problem laughing together, it’s easy to focus on just getting things done.
Our conversations can easily focus on what our fellas need to do for school or all the meetings we attended for the day. It happens to the best of us. So we intentionally choose to bring humor and laughter into our marriage.
We don’t talk about anything virus related, bill related, or even kid related.
How can you bring more laughter into your marriage and home?
Keep your spirits lifted by laughing together. Whether it’s watching a comedy or sending each other a funny meme, a sense of humor can help your marriage thrive.
3. Give each other space
If possible, creating space for each person to have some time alone every day is helpful and healthy for a marriage.
When discussing expectations for the day, that’s a good time to share what you both need. Maybe your spouse needs to take the dog for a walk alone, or perhaps you need your spouse to bath the kids so you can take a shower.
It’s hard to have solitude when everyone is home, especially if space is tight.
Let’s just be real. There’s no need to watch every show together. You can Netflix and chill by yourself.
Friend, you must be an advocate for yourself and be responsive when your spouse is doing the same.
Creating space to have time alone is healthy and necessary. Please do not feel guilty or selfish for carving out time apart. Nor should you manipulate your spouse because he may need time alone as well.
You are in this together.
Be attentive, responsive, and respectful.
4. Prayer and worship
Prayer and worship is a vital part of a healthy, thriving marriage, especially during this pandemic.
In good time and in bad times, God is always worthy of our praise. In a pandemic, we can forget this simple truth and focus more on fear than our faith. When we focus on our fear, stress, anxiety, and worry, we put our problems before our God.
Choose to daily pray your marriage, your children (if you have them), your community, those in need, those hurting, those in authority, and more. Carve out time in your day to pray together and pray individually. Ask your spouse about specific prayer requests.
Declaring the truth of God’s word in prayer and worship as a couple helps you to be encouraged, to have faith, and to have courage. Partnering with your spouse for prayer and worship creates a sacred space for the Holy Spirit to dwell.
Even amid this pandemic, your home can be a safe, peaceful space.
5. Be intimate
Just because you are in the same home doesn’t mean you are making time to connect and be intimate with one another. Focusing on the small details that get on your nerves only creates divisions that can have a lasting impact beyond this pandemic.
Don’t let this be your marriage.
Hold hands. Kiss often. Keep sex an active part of your marriage.
Communication plays an essential role in maintaining healthy intimacy during this time. Understand everyone processes stress in varied ways. In times of high stress or crisis, sex in marriage can be negatively impacted. Keeping communication open and creating a safe space for both of you to process your emotions and stress in a healthy way helps you to maintain intimacy and an active sex life.
Find ways to connect physically and emotionally. Again discussing expectations helps. If you are not interested in being intimate with your spouse, talk about why and how your spouse can help.
Don’t ignore the importance of intimacy.
6. Respect boundaries
With everyone home, your private space may be invaded with children needing to learn and a spouse who must attend multiple zoom meetings. The sanctuary of your home office or maybe the sanctuary of your master bedroom is gone. The lack of space and crossing of boundaries is more than enough reason for there to be conflict in any marriage.
Take a step back to recognize when you both are being intrusive.
Just because your spouse doesn’t look busy, you may be tempted to start a conversation or move something he isn’t currently using. Maybe he starts a movie just as you are preparing for a virtual meeting or eating the sandwich you were going to eat for lunch.
To help respect boundaries, try asking when a good time is to talk, create a schedule for work, and discuss meal prep. When you are always around each other, respecting each other’s time and boundaries are essential.
7. Dream together
With all the extra time, now is an ideal time to dream together. Talk about all the God-sized dreams in your heart. What does God want you to build together? What has God called you to do together?
Take walks and allow God to speak to both of your hearts. Maybe there is a business to start? A family to grow? A ministry to begin? Somewhere to travel?
We may be safe within the walls of our homes, but God speaks to the depths of our hearts. Allow Him to reveal His plans for your marriage.
Above all, remember marriage is ministry. Whatever is happening now was not caused by your spouse. Remember this when you are talking and living together during quarantining. The person in your home is the one you chose to spend your life with, so be gentle, be kind, and be loving. Choose to use this time to breathe fresh life into your marriage.
Cheering you on,