Our society has changed in the last couple of weeks. There are lines at the grocery stores and many common items like toilet paper are now hard to find. In our grocery, we’re limited on how much meat, eggs, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, soup, and milk we can purchase. Terms like “social distancing” and “Zoom meetings” have become common. Children are attending school online. Sports are non-existent. Restaurants and many businesses are closed indefinitely. Most of America is staying home. And saddest of all, people are dying from a new virus known as Covid-19 or the Coronavirus.
How do we as couples navigate the changes that have happened in the past few days? How can you build your marriage in uncharted times? Here are ten suggestions for what you can do:
1. See this as an opportunity.
Most of us live at a crazy pace. We don’t have time to accomplish all that we’d like. Use the time you have to read a book, clean out your basement, organize your kitchen, teach your children a new skill, concentrate on a hobby you enjoy, or just REST.
2. Enjoy the gift of family.
We’ve all been given the gift of this day with our spouse and family. Make sure you connect as a family. Do devotions. Pray together. Tackle chores together. Play a game. Teach your children a new skill like cooking, cleaning, or woodcarving.
If your parents or children don’t live in your home, connect with them through a text, phone call, or facetime. Let each family member know you love them and are praying for them.
3. Be alone with your spouse.
You may be thinking, “But I have four kids at home. How can we do that?” If your children are younger, put them to bed and then make sure you have 30-60 min. alone with your spouse before you go to bed. If your children are older, take a walk. Perhaps you can tell your kids that you and your spouse are going to the office or the bedroom to have some private time together. Once alone, talk about your thoughts, fears, what needs you both have and how to meet those. Also, discuss things you did well that day and where you could both improve. Share prayer requests and take time to pray together.
We recently wrote “Build Your Marriage One Day at a Time” (available on Amazon) and it’s a great tool to connect with your spouse at a deeper level. Each day there’s a question for you and your spouse to discuss. Use the time you have now to grow in your understanding and intimacy with each other.
4. Have a routine.
We’re all experiencing a new normal. Discuss with your spouse what a typical routine will be for your home. What time will you get up? When will the kids be “in school”? What time will everyone eat? Are we playing games or exercising as a family? What chores need to be done and when?
5. Make fun.
Every family member is under stress right now because of the uncertainty surrounding each of us. Make sure that as a husband and wife you remember to have fun together. Watch a movie. Play a game. Dance. Laugh together. Go for a walk. Take a moment to detach from what’s happening around us and just enjoy being together. Maybe you say something like, “Tonight we’re not going to watch the news or discuss the Coronavirus. Tonight we are just going to enjoy being together.” We’ve been watching a TV show each night before bed that makes us laugh.
6. Give each other space.
Being together 24/7 sounds like fun, but it can also create stress. Make sure your spouse has some alone time. Clean up the kitchen and give them an hour alone in another room to read, relax, take a bath, or journal. Then the next day the other spouse gets time alone.
If you have a workout area at home, use it. Otherwise do exercises on your floor or go for a walk or a run. It’s important to work out to stay healthy and give yourself a change of pace. The endorphins you generate will help you manage the stress and improve your emotional health.
8. Make spiritual growth a priority.
This is the perfect opportunity to build your marriage spiritually. Do devotions individually, as a couple, or as a family. Pray together each day. Here are some things you can pray for:
- Protection on your family
- God’s favor, spiritual growth
- That the coronavirus won’t spread and will stop infecting our world
- Wisdom and guidance for decisions that need to be made
- That your children will get along with each other
- The wise use of the time God has given you
In addition, pray for the leaders of our country as they combat this virus. Pray for your church and its leaders. Pray for your community to be protected. Pray for those in the medical profession as they help those who are sick.
9. Stay connected to your church and Christian community.
As a couple (or family) watch your church’s service online. If your church isn’t online, find a church that is. Our church’s message will be pre-recorded and available online here or on Facebook here. Set aside time each weekend when you would normally attend church, and watch the service from your home. Then talk about the sermon together.
If you’re part of a small group, suggest that you meet together via Zoom to share prayer requests and catch up with one another. We’re doing that with our couples small group this Sunday evening and we can’t wait!
10. Focus on faith, not fear.
You have the opportunity to remind each other that God is in control and He IS faithful. The Apostle Paul reminded Timothy that “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Find your united strength by fixing your eyes on Jesus and encouraging one another to trust him.
As you draw close to each other and to God in the midst of this crisis you will grow deeper, stronger, and build your marriage.