Be honest with yourself and me. This is the part of the article you don’t even read. Most of you, like me, skip straight to the parts that have a bold header.
So I’ll spare you my unpacking of the tensions that are happening with the collision of marriage and coronavirus. You’re living it. Let’s just jump to the bold stuff, before you have to put a tranquilizer dart in your spouse’s neck for doing that gargantuanly annoying, “thing” again.
1. You can be hard to live with, too
Like you, your spouse is under all sorts of stressors. From working from home to homeschooling to the economy to lack of hand-sanitizer to having to live with you, the struggle is real.
When they mess up, ease up. Don’t care quite so much about the way they deal with the kids, their towels on the floor, their way of managing to slurp through every bite of their cereal. Give them the grace you need now or are going to need soon.
2. You don’t like mean people either
Shaunti Feldhaun—Harvard graduate, social researcher, speaker, and best- selling author—revealed in a massive study that the most important thing in a marriage is kindness.
In her 30-Day Kindness Challenge, we are instructed to say something kind and do something kind for 30 days. Now that you aren’t wasting all your kindness on your co-workers and strangers, give it all to your spouse and expect nothing in return.
You know how to be kind, you do it every day. You may be surprised how staggering helpful small doses of kindness can be for your marriage.
3. You’re weird, too
Some couples have a lot of differences. Every couple has some differences.
Some of you are stressed your spouse is not stressed enough about the coronavirus.
Some of you are stressed because your spouse is too stressed.
Some of you hate this time has messed-up your structure.
Others are thrilled daily hygiene is optional.
Don’t roll your eyes at your spouse. Look at their face. It’s harder to be frustrated with your person when you re-see the face you promised to love. They may be a LOT to deal with, but so are you.
There’s no better way to draw your spouse to you than accepting them, all of them. They need your acceptance now more than ever.
4. You can be NOT FUN, too
I fully understand the coronavirus is serious. How in the world could we ever forget? The reminders are everywhere. But too much news causes too much stress. Too much stress weakens your immune system.
So, for the sake of doing your part, try to be at least semi-fun. You don’t have to do stand-up, but at least tell a few dad jokes. Lock your spouse out of the house and make her dance to get back in. Walk behind the couch and pretend you are walking down non-existent steps.
And for all that is holy, if your spouse does or says something remotely funny, laugh!
5. You are not GOD either
Instead of trying to convince your spouse to stop being or doing that thing they are doing, or asking them to give you that thing they are withholding, step back, step away, and just pray.
When we spend time with Him, we become more like Him. Plus, it takes a whole lot of pressure off our spouse to be God-size. They are having a tough enough time being human-size.
I don’t know how God speaks to you, but ever since this cluster started, I’ve had this song stuck in my head, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” And He does. Period. No matter what. Spend time with Him. Talk to Him. He is crazy about you. Don’t forget it. When we don’t forget, the people around us will always benefit.
We can do this married people! I promise. How are you protecting your marriage from the Coronavirus?
Ted Lowe is an author, speaker, and the director of MarriedPeople—the marriage division at Orange. Ted is the author of two books—one for marriage ministry leaders (Married People: How Your Church Can Build Marriages That Last) and one for married couples (Your Best US: Marriage Is Easier Than You Think). He served for almost 10 years as the director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church. He lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with his four favorite people: his wife, Nancie, and their three children.
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