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How to stay married during a pandemic

By Jennifer Bell

These are some trying times we’re living in. No one could have predicted that we’d all be working remotely, wearing masks in public, cancelling vacations, “participating” in church services via our computers, keeping our distance from each other, and holing up in our homes for months on end. My guess is that all of this togetherness in our homes has intensified whatever the condition of your marriage was pre-virus.

If you were already each other’s best friend, you’ve enjoyed having more time for walks, reading books together, playing games as a family, and having at-home dates. You’ve possibly helped each other homeschool your children. Maybe you’ve cleaned out closets together—something you’d been meaning to do for a long time. Maybe you’ve spent way less money than usual, and you’re working to streamline your budget for the future. In short, you’re working as a team.

If the above paragraph describes you and your spouse, that’s wonderful!

But for many couples, this time has only served to peel back the layers of discord and resentment buried just under the surface.

Your busy schedules were a smokescreen for two lives that had drifted away from each other; the calendar dictated that you had to be away from each other, but the truth was that you wanted to live separate lives.

Your extra income meant you could afford to eat out or grab a coffee at Starbucks as often as you wanted, but as belts have tightened you are fighting about money constantly—and you aren't fighting fair in your marriage.

If the latter more accurately describes your marriage, I want to encourage you that there is hope!

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First, start with yourself.

Go before God and ask Him to show you the ways you’ve been selfish, harsh, or disrespectful toward your spouse.

Next, ask for forgiveness.

Be specific. Own your mistakes and the impact they’ve had on your spouse.

As a couple, make a plan.

You know most of the challenges you will be facing—in your finances, in day-to-day parenting decisions, in your work schedule – so plan how you can tackle these as a team!

Let’s not waste the lessons this pandemic has been trying to teach us! If we will follow these three steps, I believe our marriages will come through this trial on the other side better than before!

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” —Ephesians 4:2-3


 

Jennifer Bell has been married to her high school sweetheart, Brant, for 30 years. They’ve raised three sons and one daughter to adulthood, and are still best friends. She recently became “Mimi” to a new grandson, Elijah. She enjoys being part of the worship team at church, reading, and spending time with her book club friends, and just hanging out with her family in Franklin, TN. 

 

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Tags: Money, Divorce, Faith, Relationship, Communication