Your marriage was fine until . . . wham! The coronavirus hit. Now that you’re in quarantine, or you’re juggling both working from home and caring for the kids, things have gone from being relatively stable to your marriage being on life support. And you may have discovered things weren’t so fine and there are some major issues that have been unresolved for years! Where do you start? Here are seven steps to reviving your marriage.
- Stop Criticizing.
What’s one thing you can do today to change your marriage? Stop criticizing your spouse. Instead, “Let everything you say be good and helpful” (Eph. 4:29). You may think you have the power to change your spouse, but you don’t. Here’s a challenge: Go 24 hours without criticizing your spouse—your marriage could change overnight!
- Have a Date Night In.
Restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and malls in your area may be closed. But it doesn’t have to steal your joy. The Bible tells us to, “Let your heart cheer you” (Eccl. 11:9). Having a date night in will help lift your spirits, drawing you closer together. Here are some ideas:
- Learn to dance by taking online dancing lessons.
- Read a book, and then discuss it.
- Do something nice like preparing a meal for an elderly neighbor.
- Create a DIY movie theater in your backyard.
- Take a virtual tour of one of the world’s greatest museums.
- Make Time to Talk.
Decide a time and place each day where you and your spouse can sit face-to-face and talk about hot topics. You can even set a timer for 20 minutes or so if you need to. Now is the time to say, “I love you, but I’m having a hard time with both of us working from home. What do you think?” Then, take turns listening while the other talks. James 1:19 tells us to, “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” Make a rule that if it gets too heated, you’ll take a break and resume your talk later.
- Form Healthy Friendships.
God never designed your spouse to fully meet all of your needs. Develop friendships with others—it’ll help you grow individually and as a couple. The Bible puts it this way, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Pr. 27:17). Find other couples you can connect with through online classes, Life Recovery Groups, and other groups such as Bible studies. It’s important you develop friendships apart from your spouse’s.
- Don’t Tolerate Bad Behavior.
Has your spouse been unfaithful to you? Are they abusive? Do they struggle with addiction? Let them know how their behavior has affected your relationship—insist they take responsibility; and if you are in danger, seek help immediately.Require your spouse to get into counseling, seek treatment, and begin recovery. Then, seek help for your own healing. A Life Recovery group or a Christian counselor for yourself can help you discover what your next step might be. Galatians 6:5 says, “For we are each responsible for our own conduct.”
- Connect Spiritually.
Pray and read the Bible together every day; attend church together online or in-person. These may seem obvious, but are you doing them? What if your spouse doesn’t share your faith? Pray for him or her, and live your life as an example to them. Peter encouraged women whose husbands were unbelievers by telling them, “They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives” (1 Pet. 3:2). The same rings true for men who are married to unbelievers. We all need to be connecting with God and His Word each day.
- Make Intimacy a Priority.
Intimacy with your spouse is probably the last thing on your mind during this time. Look for ways to initiate connection with your partner. Hand holding, hugging, kind words, and compliments at home go far in connecting with your husband or wife. Intimacy is not just physical, it begins by really knowing each other in a deeper way.
If you want to keep your marriage from becoming another casualty, attend New Life Ministries’ Intimacy in Marriage Workshop or get a copy of How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich. Your revived marriage could be the best thing that comes out of this pandemic!
By Kimberlee Bousman