When you married your spouse, you vowed to remain together for better or for worse. You may not have imagined a global pandemic, but before saying, “I do,” you might have contemplated dozens of other circumstances that could potentially threaten your marriage. Enter 2020 and all its additional challenges, and you might feel a little overwhelmed. But even still, God has made a way. Here are five tips on how to fight for your marriage during a pandemic and prevail with enduring love.
How to Fight for Your Marriage, Even During a Pandemic
1. Celebrate. Celebrate as often as possible! It may feel like this year there is a lot to be disappointed about, and it will likely take effort, but find the things that are worth a moment of joy. Then, pause and celebrate them. Don’t allow the good stuff to pass by; instead, thank God for those moments. Whether it’s a surprising financial blessing, finally finishing that DIY project you started back in March, or the fact that your kids didn’t miss a single virtual assignment this week, feel the triumph of those moments and let them fill your heart with hope for what else is to come.
2. Reminisce. Did you know there is such a thing as reminiscence therapy? Studies show reminiscing can lead to increased life satisfaction and higher well-being in adults. Healthy reminiscing about the colorful memories you have created with each other will bring an intimate connection into your marriage, regardless of your current situation. Talk about how you met, your first date, the moment you knew you were meant to be together, or the first time you laid eyes on your sweet baby. Laugh together over your most embarrassing moments. Reminisce about the love you share and why you have continually chosen each other every day.
3. Communicate. Now more than ever, we need to be aware of our physical, mental, and emotional needs. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or exhausted, tell your spouse you need rest and what that looks like to you. Is resting taking a bubble bath while reading a nice book? Is it putting your headphones in while getting lost in doing yard work? Taking the kids to a movie and ice cream? Reading God’s Word and reflecting in prayer? A relaxing date night watching your favorite holiday movie with a cup of cocoa? Or, is it simply turning off all the lights and sleeping until your body decides it’s time to wake up? There is no right or wrong way to rest. Know what rejuvenates you when you begin to feel bogged down by the weight of your circumstances, and be honest with your spouse when it’s time to do something about it.
4. Actively listen. It’s normal to experience a wide variety of thoughts and feelings, especially this year. Rather than simply allowing your spouse to express their thoughts and feelings, actively listen to what they’re saying. Process your spouse’s words, and take time to validate what they’re experiencing. You may not know exactly how to respond, and that’s okay, but you can let them know they’re not alone and you want to support them in whatever way they need. Practice using empathy and do your best to see the why behind what they’re saying or feeling. Ask them if there is anything you can do to help them, or if they just need you to listen.
5. Believe the best. God gives us never-ending grace. Let’s allow that to flow through us and to those around us. This is an interesting season, and every day there could be a potential new obstacle or trigger that has your spouse worried or frustrated. Choose to believe the best about them and trust that they’re navigating the current world as best as they can. When necessary, ask questions. Try to avoid assuming they had negative intent in their words or actions. 2 Peter 1:2 reminds us that we have received grace in abundance from Christ, meaning there is more for us than we even need. Take the extra grace offered to you, pass it to your spouse, and believe the best about them, knowing your selfless action will be pleasing to God’s heart.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity.” Let this be a time in your marriage for celebrating, reminiscing, communicating, actively listening, and believing the best about your spouse.
In a world where each day may bring a new obstacle, rest in the assurance that you serve the God who makes a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:19), and He is now making a way for you as you continue to fight for your marriage, even during a pandemic.