I look in your eyes and there I see
What happiness really means
The love that we share makes life so sweet
Together we’ll always be (Lyrics from Here and Now- Luther Vandross)
Here and Now by Luther Vandross was the song that was sung at our wedding! Together we’ll always be. When couples fall in love, we want to spend every minute with one another. When people get married, most vows require the bride and groom each to say, “til death do us part.” Well……. Marriage is often thought to be the “happily ever after” phase of relationships. In the midst of what some may call the “honeymoon phase,” one might not think too much of what it takes to have a successful marriage; particularly when trials and tribulation rear its ugly head!
This being the second marriage for the both of us, the thought, at least for me, was that I wanted the second time around to be different. I wanted so much to spend all my time with my new husband! Every relationship comes with its challenges and I’ve learned that it takes a lot of effective communication, support, understanding, and patience! Many events will occur that will test your marriage, your love, and the infamous, “til death us do part!” Pump the breaks! Every minute? 24/7? Really?!
The Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped our personal relationships in unprecedented ways, forcing us to live closer together. Life in lock-down has necessitated close, constant contact with our spouses/partners, but social distancing measures have isolated us from our friends and wider communities. The social distancing rules enforced during the pandemic have us spending long periods of time together, often in close quarters. We are locked away at home, fearful to step outside in case we pick up a virus that could kill us.
Nothing compares to spending 24/7 with my spouse for weeks in a row to reveal the current state of our marriage. This form of time together, again for me, is revealing puzzling relationship patterns that appear more amplified than when we were able to go out and enjoy the other things life has to offer outside of the home. For example, now that we are in the season of summer, this is the time when I would meet up with friends to release and exhale. My spouse would go to the various parks to play or watch a basketball game. With the suspension of sports, for him, it’s like, “What do I do now?” My days have turned into what my spouse would take as “nagging.” Things like “Why did you leave the cup in the sink?” Why didn’t you cut off the light after leaving the room?’ Why are your socks on the floor?” I started focusing on what I now realize are smaller things that may be an underline of something bigger than this forced shut-in. Something that impacted us communicating effectively. I was missing the time to miss him and on the other hand, not really appreciating him and the closeness we are sharing in a positive manner.
And here we are; both working from home. We get up in the morning, turn on our computers, do our work, sign-off, eat, watch TV, sleep – a continuous cycle each day of the pandemic. Thoughts occupied my mind forcing me to ask myself, “Did I get married for breakfast and dinner and not lunch?!
Prior to Covid-19, I anticipated coming home where I could relax from the strain of the long workday. Missing my husband during the day, I looked forward to seeing him when he got home and sharing the day’s occurrences. I must admit, I don’t really believe that when he asked how my day was, that he really wanted to hear every detail of my day. Slowly I realized there appeared to be a ripple in the flow of our marriage. So what do we do when we’re out of the flow, behind closed doors, finding what it’s like living in solitary confinement? TV fills some of the gaps. We watch different shows which cause us to retreat to separate rooms. When we spend so long in isolation and being confined for that long we struggled with cabin fever because we have more time on our hands.
We need to delve into the inner sense of connectedness that nourishes and grounds us in times of uncertainty and upheaval. Something needs to be done because how things are now ain’t working! Together we need to do something to get back to “I look in your eyes and there I see what happiness really means -The love that we share makes life so sweet Together we’ll always be!” –
Many marriages are experiencing stress and strain during this unprecedented time, and we can’t expect we will have a problem-free life. Just because at times he or I may feel discouraged in our marriage, doesn’t mean we are unable to do anything about it. Together we are using this time as an opportunity to tune in and reset in our marriage as needed.
How do we reconnect as husband and wife and be helpmates for each other? One way is to take hold of our spiritual beliefs. We can witness how God not only stays with us during trials, but provides a beautiful outcome in the midst of the difficult seasons. We realized that God has given us the gift of time and learned to be “alone, together.” As we strive to keep a loving and supportive relationship, we work to be able to cope with challenges more effectively. We managed to strike a balance in life and enjoy each other’s company.
No doubt COVID-19 has changed the world. We are all impacted. Whether we are in a boat that is afloat or a boat that feels like it is sinking, we know there is hope for our marriage. I take a deep breath and give thanks for another day with my husband, and cherish the strength of the threads that link us together. This may not change the course of the pandemic, but I believe it will make a difference within us, and how we emerge out of this crucible. Did I Marry for Breakfast and Dinner and Not Lunch? No. I married for every meal! For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; through sickness and health; and yes, til death do us part!