As some of us may be in “lockdown” situations or headed in that direction, I thought this would be a good time to share wisdom from the Scriptures about how to love our spouse in a “quarantine” situation.
The city of Xian, in central China, and Dazhou, in Sichuan province, both reported record-high numbers of divorce filings in early March, leading to long backlogs at government offices. In Hunan province’s Miluo, “staff members didn’t even have time to drink water” because so many couples lined up to file, according to a report in mid-March on the city government website. Clerks struggled to keep up, processing a record number in a single day, it said. “Trivial matters in life led to the escalation of conflicts, and poor communication has caused everyone to be disappointed in marriage and make the decision to divorce,” the city registration center’s director, Yi Xiaoyan, was quoted as saying.
Shanghai divorce lawyer Steve Li at Gentle & Trust Law Firm says his caseload has increased 25% since the city’s lockdown eased in mid-March.
As Christians, we have the opportunity to create a different story with God’s help.
So please do share any creative ways you have found to love your husband or wife in this unusual time!
@CarsonWeitnauer That is a fascinating statistic. I wonder if we will experience the same uptick. As to your question, my wife and I have not really changed our ways of expressing affection. If anything, we talk more. Maybe that has to do with the pressures of the situation. Psalm 91 is our favorite Psalm to think about.
This person specified two weaknesses that so commonly lead to disappointing marriages. Every marriage has its issues and what will help make or break a relationship is how we handle those issues. The amazing thing is that the answer to any of our marriage problems can be found in our Lord. The hard part is understanding that all we have to do is give these problems over to the Lord and pray for victory and strength to continue to be gracious and loving in the midst of struggles.
I have spoken about my legalistic upbringing, but one thing that I did bring from it is that divorce is not an option. I loved how in the show the Crown the queen and her husband came to the conclusion: we cannot divorce, so how will we make this work? They were living in misery and decided, since they could not run away from their problem, they would take steps to live happily together. My husband and I will have been married 25 years this June, and I will admit that many couples who have gone through what we have in our relationship would have divorced long ago. But that never entered our minds. Our devotion to God and His sanctification in our lives has made us face our problems and overcome them in faith in Him. We have already learned how to get along at home. That being said, and to answer Carson’s question, how do we love our spouses in this unusual time? How do we ever love our spouses during times of diversity?
In faith. Pettiness can cause us to see our spouse’s flaws and they are amplified when we dwell on them. But I remind myself that I have flaws too and that he can have many complaints against me as well. So how would I want my husband to treat me in spite of my flaws? I would want him to be gracious, to overlook my flaws, and love me anyway, so I pray to God to help me be that way to my husband. And instead of feeling like I need to point out what is wrong with my husband and try to help him fix those things, I pray for him and have faith that God, the only one who can change us, will work in my husband’s life and help him With his struggles. My only job is to show my husband love, edify, and pray for him.
Never care about petty things, those non-moral issues that many of us can get wrapped up in. Often they are character flaws and just where we are in our journey in life, or just how we have learned to do things. We all have them. I deal with this issue The same as I said in #1.
Do things together that you enjoy. We may have our individual projects around the house, but we need to take the time to enjoy this extra time we have together. On the other hand, working together is a good thing. We try to work alongside each other when we can. We can’t go to our usual date spots (favorite restaurant or movie theater) so we go on drives and spend time together after our children are in bed and catch up on events, discuss important things, and share things that we have found to be of interest. We also take walks on our 41 acres.
Help each other. Our frustrations can increase when we are all home together. We should look for things that may be causing irritation or get in the way of what the other is trying to do and take steps to ease the tension. When my husband has business to take care of I make sure to keep the kids occupied and quiet if he needs to make phone calls or work on his computer. When I have a project that needs my attention then my husband does the same for me. When there are other things that come up and I see it is stressing my husband, I do what I can to assist him to help ease the burden. We also take time to just play as a family. That is so important for everyone’s morale.
My husband and I have been married 39 years and we have a great marriage. I must admit though that now that we have so much more time together I have had some frustration. At first I had to voice it all the time. So my husband was beginning to get pretty frustrated also. I actually started a new page in my journal where I can write down the times during the day that I was irritated but that I could let it go. Of course a good amount of prayer goes along with this. I ended up having 2 lists one with when I could let it go and another for when I couldn’t. I am hoping that as time goes by the first list will become a lot longer than the second.
We are both working on the Short Course together and have had some great apologetics conversations.
These times of uncertainty in the world today, and the stress of the unknown, can led couples to fear, and in turn, exhibit a lack of patience with each other. I have friends, who have become hypersensitive to the flaws and/or mannerisms of their spouse.
Some of what couples are facing or fighting about, has actually been there for a long time, but close quarters and no place to escape, have brought these issues to the immediate surface. Now that these issues have surfaced, what do we do with them?
We can either hold the mirror up to ourselves and face our own flaws, or, we place blame and responsibility somewhere else, because let’s face it, the latter would be much easier. “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 That scripture is solid advice, but how do we initiate such a change?
I am certainly not suggesting you go this alone, God is an incredible counselor and the power of prayer is a mighty weapon. The bible gives us some much need guidance during these times, “A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness.” Proverbs 15:1-2. Oh, how that scripture has convict me a time or two.
There are some tangible options as well, like engaging in a marriage tune up, through Christian counseling. I have heard that counselors that will conduct appointments by Facetime or Zoom.
Some people hear the word counseling and immediately attach a negative connotation to the proposal, but may I present it more as a gift into unlocking communication and understanding into your partner’s world, of how and why they behave in such a way. When we can understand the “why,” sailing through our relationship is a bit less rough.
The power of a perspective shift in a situation can be an incredible tool towards healing, however, we may need a bit of help getting there.
When wanting to start a conversation, it is best to first assess the moment with a statement like, “Is this a good time to talk,” after you speak, a good follow up is, “what did you hear me say?” These two questions can be quite helpful in navigating intentional conversation.
Dr Juli Slattery has posted this link on her website, Authentic Intimacy, COVID-19 Marriage Survival Guide
Here are a few books that may help as well. I pray God Blesses your family and keeps you safe through this unusual journey.