Most of us are suddenly living in a world of unknowns. The Coronavirus has kinda turned everything upside down, has it not?
In many ways, we have no idea what life is going to look like over the next several days, weeks, or even months — on both the big picture level (think jobs, health, finances), and in relation to daily details (how should we navigate each new day?).
To put it simply, there is a lot to be processing.
But that’s not all that’s going on — if you are married, you are processing these issues alongside someone. And I’m going to guess that we don’t all process these issues exactly the same. Which means we might find ourselves dealing with some marital tension here and there. In fact, marital issues are often exacerbated during odd times like this (especially when we are stuck at home together 24/7).
A Plethora of Potential Problems
If you and your husband are like-minded and easily work together during seasons of change or stress, praise God. Literally, you should! Having two different people with their own personality and their own way of seeing life, somehow staying in sync, seeing eye to eye during a season of unknowns is quite the feat (but I’m sure God gives you your own set of issues to keep you humble!). However, the majority of couples are going to disagree at some point…
One spouse might be more concerned than the other.
One might be more opinionated about what’s going on in society.
One might think they should help people in need, while the other thinks that’s far too risky.
One might love being quarantined together day after day after day after day, while the other needs some space.
One might get stressed about the unknown’s, while the other is fairly care-free.
One might think the kid’s new school-at-home routine should look one way, while the other sees it very differently.
One might be introverted (and somewhat content with this new schedule), while the other is extroverted (and can’t handle another day of this nonsense).
On and on, you can see how marriages all over the place might be a bit tested.
After reflecting on the various issues different marriages could deal with, I came up with 5 thoughts on working together well…
1. Pray together.
What’s more uniting than coming to God to ask for his will to be done during this crisis? You and your husband may have a very different take on life right now, but if you are both Christians, you both want the same thing on the most important level. You want God to use this situation. You want God to save people. You want God to protect people. You want God’s will. So come together to pray for those things, and perhaps you will see that all the secondary issues aren’t that big of a deal.
2. Extend extra grace.
This is new territory for all of us. No premarital counseling or marriage book has taught us how to handle Coronavirus-related marriage tension. So try and extend a little grace if you think your spouse isn’t handling life exactly as you’d want him to.
Basically, before tension develops — try and take a step back and realize he’s probably doing all he can to handle life the best he can. It might be different from you, but assume the best about his heart and intentions (like you want him to do for you).
3. Work on communicating productively.
There’s a lot of conversation about the Coronavirus these days (or the effects of the Coronavirus on society, or how it impacts our schedules, or how it will impact our future, or how it will impact…). This is happening both inside the home and out. But if there is one person you want to discuss your thoughts well with, it should be your husband. That means you don’t want to get worked up when his thoughts differ from yours. You need to be able to disagree with kindness and love and gentleness. That means you want to do a good job listening to him, without being defensive or feisty.
Sometimes it’s even good to just stop to hug and reaffirm your love when tension starts to arise. And sometimes we just need to stop talking about all the serious stuff and find a way to “hangout” and laugh a little.
Lord willing, this health crisis will soon pass — but your marriage will not. Make it your aim to come out stronger, communicating better, and even disagreeing more productively.
4. Follow your husband’s lead.
Good conversation is great, but when conversations need to turn into decisions, let your husband be the leader he’s meant to be. Come alongside him with your wisdom, but know when it’s time to step back and let him lead.
This is undoubtedly super hard when you don’t agree on how to handle finances, kid’s schooling, health decisions, new schedules, future plans, etc. But if you want to do it God’s way (and you should), following your husband’s leadership is the only option (1 Peter 3:5-6). Hopefully your husband will work with you on these big issues, but even if he doesn’t, know that God is pleased by your willingness to submit. And secondarily, I think we’ll see marital tension is greatly diminished when wives are willing to follow their husbands.
5. Realize you are normal.
In the end, just remember If you don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, that is normal. We want to work through each marriage issue well, but it really shouldn’t be surprising that we experience and process life’s big events differently. While some of our issues may stem from sinful responses, it may just be that we look at life differently.
The real problem is not our difference of opinion, it’s how we handle those differences.
So I hope if any tension starts to rise up in your marriage over the coming weeks, you will remember that it’s not only normal, but it’s a great opportunity. For through this trial of sorts, we can deepen, strengthen, and grow our marriages. We can learn to work better as a team than we ever have before.
Link arms with your man and let’s come out of this thing stronger than we started.