Marriage Challenges in the Time of Lockdown
September 16, 2021
I remember a while ago I did a video on how married love is not easy. We promise to take another person to have, to hold, to love, and then to compromise with for the rest of our lives!
Well, over the last few weeks here in New Zealand we've been in a strict lockdown, and at several points I have thought to myself, "Yikes, this lockdown is not good for our marriage!"
Bryce and I have a particular 'challenging difference' that has recurred regularly since the day we married. It's this: He is extremely practical on matters of how to do things around the house (e.g., load the dishwasher) and I am extremely not. He cannot help but find the way I do things infuriating; but I cannot change the fact I am naturally slapdash. He gives me ongoing pointers, then I get irritated. We've been at this 22 years now, and it sometimes affects our ability to live together enjoyably.
This is normally manageable -- I mean, it comes up once every six weeks and we have a moment. But usually we try to adapt. That was until lockdown put us into a confined space together, day in, day out.
A few days ago, I was scooping out some avocado. It was weeks into the lockdown and I was feeling slightly 'frayed'. Bryce was sitting behind me cheerfully, and out came a pleasant comment: "You know you should be using a spoon to do that instead of a knife? It's far more efficient." Well, that was it. I put the avocado and knife down and ... walked out of the room. All I could think was ... "I need to escape this lockdown and go to Spain. Or be in a darkened room by myself for twelve hours."
I don't know why I thought of Spain, it does sound nice! But the fact is we're stuck in this situation. Further, like that avocado, marriage is a whole, not two halves. And he is my other half. So, lockdown or not, I need to do my best here.
I read a sweet book on marriage last week by Christian worship artists Jeremy and Adrienne Camp who have all this same stuff. Disagreements, differences. I like reading about marriages with two Christians because I realize those marriages are still full of challenges. Two fleshly, broken humans come together, then have to work it out. Anyway, these two, Jeremy and Adrienne, have a sweet story as she is his second wife after he was widowed. They are heartfelt lovers of God and had put together a book on marriage. Not because they're experts. Rather, because they had a platform and the topic is important. In that book was a little set of questions for our spouse we could ask ... See what you think:
Questions for our spouse
- What might contribute to your 'getting up on the wrong side of the bed'?
- What's one thing you wish I'd do more often?
- What's one thing you wish I'd stop doing?
- What does a relaxing day spent with me look like to you?
- When and where do you feel the most peaceful?
- Do you need more or less 'alone time'?
- Is there anything you've missed doing since we got married?
- Is there anything new you wish we would do together?
I liked these. And so I think next time we/I have a silly-avocado moment, I might pull one or two of these questions out, go hang out with my husband, and see if we can find ways of getting through this challenging time in good shape.
Marriage is a funny thing ... Has the pandemic brought challenges to your relationship with your spouse? Looking forward to chatting in the comments!