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Now is not the time to work on your marriage

I am trying to be productive, really I am, but I’m finding it hard to get motivated when my routine is all out of whack due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. I have a list a mile long of things I should be doing like cleaning out closets, painting scuffed baseboards and raking the leaves that keep reminding me I slacked off last fall. Instead, I find myself either staring into the pantry wishing the cans of soup would magically morph into warm brownies or scrolling through social media.

In my last bout of scrolling I read a post from a friend that said, “Has anyone wondered if God is trying to give us all a message?” One person commented, “He has put us in a time out!” I chuckled to myself as I clicked the “like” button, but my friend’s question lingered in my mind the rest of the day. It has me thinking deeply about this global situation that’s affected every one of us in one way or another. It feels like normal life has come to a screeching halt as if the world suddenly got tired of spinning and it just needed a rest. Like a tired toddler, it decided to lay down in the middle of the living room floor and take a nap. So here we are walking around quietly, watching and waiting for it to wake back up.

Do you feel like your world has stopped spinning? Things are a bit off kilter? Ordinary life has been disrupted and many of our comforts have been taken from us like a bully grabbing our lunch money. The freedom to go out and about at will, paychecks, routines, health, and hobbies have been temporarily stripped away and our human tendency is to fight back to recapture our sense of security. While it’s good to stand up to a bully, fighting isn’t an option in this situation.

Perhaps there is something else we should be doing. I don’t know for certain, but I think my friend could be right. Maybe there is a message in this mess. Could it be God is trying to get our attention and has given us all a big “time out” to “think about what we’ve done” to ourselves, our routines and our relationships? Perhaps now is the time to reflect, reevaluate and reconsider if what we normally do is working.

As with any situation, there’s always good and bad. But in times of increased stress and uncertainty, is it really wise to focus on or fight about the negatives? Probably not. When it comes to our marriage now is not the time to “work on the bad things.” No one is in their optimal emotional or mental state right now. Not to say we are all a bunch of wrecks but this abrupt change to our status quo caused all of us to lose our balance, some more than others. At the present moment none of us want or need the added pressure to fix something in our marriage.

As always, the only thing we can control – or fix - is ourselves. If we want to be productive in our “time out” we can begin by pausing, reflecting and reevaluating our inner workings…our own thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. Asking ourselves, “is what I’m doing working for my marriage?”

I know for us; the recent increased time together has made me realize I can get snippy when things aren’t done around the house a certain way (ahem, my way). I’m ashamed to admit I tend to get irritable, so I respond disrespectfully. I believe God is sending the message that I need to work on this issue in me because it hurts our “we.”

So, I’m choosing to spend the rest of this “time out” thinking about fixing me while looking for the good in my marriage and in my husband. I’m going to enjoy the puzzles, Netflix movies and walks in the woods. I may even get to a closet or two. And if my husband decides to help, I’ll be thankful I have a great guy that keeps my heart spinning even though the world has momentarily stopped and I’ll tell myself now is not the time to show him how to properly fold sweaters.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” ~Jesus

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