One of my favorite movies is My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It is an older movie but it reminds me of families I know—loud and in one another’s business. The father in the movie is one of my favorite characters. He is extremely proud of his Greek heritage. He places Greek statues in the front yard and hangs the Greek flag from the roof of their home. He is endearing even with his exaggerated quirks.
One quirk from the movie that I think is hilarious is how the father explains words by referring to their original Greek root. I can just hear him trying to explain the pandemic, “the word pandemic comes from the Greek word pan meaning all and the Greek word demos meaning people or population. You put those Greek words together, pan plus demos equals all people—pandemic. There you go.”
But as we’ve all learned, it is going to take a little more than masks, antibacterial wipes, and spraying Windex on people to correct the issues of the pandemic. (The spraying Windex comment is another quirk of the father in the movie; with my family it’s Clorox, but I digress.)
COVID-19 has made us think and live differently. One thing I’ve noticed is that people often talk about how the pandemic impacts us as a whole rather than as individuals. We discuss the impact of the virus on businesses, schools, churches, finances, and other services. But it takes a little longer to help individuals reflect and evaluate how the pandemic is impacting them personally.
As the pandemic has continued my husband and I have learned more about our marriage and how to strengthen it during these uncertain days.
Time together and apart.
When people are quarantined or businesses are functioning at a lower capacity, you spend more time at home. Instead of getting up in the morning and going your separate ways for roughly ten hours, a couple stays under one roof. This opens the opportunity for more meals together, discussions in real time, and a feeling of togetherness throughout the day. As a couple spends more time together there is a natural sense of safety and stability. They are reminded daily that they are in this pandemic together.
We also know that a lot of togetherness can be sweet or sometimes sour! At one point during quarantine my husband and I had our three daughters and two sons-in-law at home with us for two weeks. Do the math—seven of us—quarantined. Together for two weeks.
Everyone was working or doing school work, and we were grieving the death of my mom. We had to intentionally make space for one another and find time to be together during the sadness. We put Philippians 2:4 into practice. We had to look out for the needs of others. We learned that giving one another space is important.
As the pandemic continues don’t neglect one-on-one time with your spouse or the time you need to be alone. Look for the simple ways you can connect throughout the day to keep communication and the gift of your marriage healthy.
New schedules and new hobbies.
It is interesting how you develop new routines when you are quarantined. We needed to work together to do our jobs with excellence despite our new working conditions. We created new rhythms for our day. Removing a round trip commute and time away from home turned into hours of opportunity for us. We set specific work hours but also had time to plant a garden, take walks, ride bikes, and work on projects in the house. The junk drawer is finally clean!
The time we’ve gained at home has been put to good use. We’ve intentionally allowed time for thinking, creating, and remembering. We’ve looked through photos, old souvenirs, and remembered different seasons of our 30 years of marriage. We can reflect on all that God has done for us and how He is still moving in our marriage as we serve together for the gospel.
Spiritual growth is done alone and in community.
During the most restricted days of quarantine our church did not meet in person. Like many other churches, we had an online church service. It was really important for our marriage that we continued to worship and study the Word of God together. We knew when church would start and we would sing, pray, listen, and study together.
With Jesus at the center of our marriage, we know we are part of God’s plans and purposes for sharing the gospel. Jesus will bring us through this pandemic like He has brought us through so many other things in life as a couple.
Couples can face many challenges and struggles during a pandemic. We see the quirks that make our spouse unique. But we also see the beauty of a love that is deep and committed and remember why we loved our spouse in the first place.
One passage that has become precious to me is Ephesians 3:14-19 as I’ve asked God for spiritual power for my marriage.
For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through His Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.