– by Keith & Sarah Condie
We feel blessed to have had each other during this period of restricted social contact. For so many we know, social isolation has been just that – living alone, removed from the normal relational connections that encourage and nourish.
Even so, being in close proximity nearly all of the time can be a challenge for the best of marriages. A May 2020 Relationships Australia study on the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions found that 42% people experienced a negative change in their relationship with their partner.
But even small choices and actions have an impact. Here are the final four steps we would like to suggest to you to to promote a healthy and strong relationship:
9. Build regular habits of connecting away from your children
Children, small children, lots of small children and babies are a blessing. Often their needs and demands for attention make it difficult to carve out time for one another. Here are some helpful ways to connect:
- Daily – find a time in the day when just the two of you can chat – approx. 15 – 30 minutes. Make sure it’s a child free zone!
- Weekly – set aside an evening or lunchtime where you can share together.
During COVID both these might be challenging, but can we encourage you to be intentional and give them a go.
10. Look outward together
How might you serve God’s people together? How might you offer hospitality to another in a “COVID” appropriate way? Looking beyond your own marriage will be good for your marriage and bring blessing to others.
11. Ask God to grant the Spirit’s fruit
Spending more time together can bring little irritations into focus. Rather than seeing the log in your partner’s eye and wishing that they would change, it may be more helpful to spend time reflecting on things that you could improve within yourself: Search out that speck of dust in your own eye and work on your own Christian character. Wonderfully, we don’t have to do this alone! You can ask God for his Spirit to fill you with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control (Gal 5:22). If you are displaying these fruits, you will be an easy person to live with.
12. Do the Building a Safe & Strong Marriage course together
We have just launched an online version of our course, making it easy for you to do from the comfort of your home. No need to organise babysitters or go out! This five-session marriage enrichment course draws upon wisdom from the Bible and from some significant research into marriages.
You can work through each session together at your own pace watching videos of us presenting along with interviews with married couples. The video content is interspersed with couple exercises where you have the chance to talk together through some questions to help guide your conversation and apply what you’re learning to your own marriage.
One of the key messages in the course is “little things every day” and you will be given lots of opportunity to start to recognise what these things are and how to build them into your relationship. Here is an opportunity to change that statistic from Relationships Australia and make small but significant changes to your marriage – this will be good for you both, your children and your church community and will help you “weather this current COVID storm” together.