With so many people being laid off or having to work from home, due to the recent COVID-19 Crisis, many couples are spending a lot more unintentional time together. However, just because you and your partner are spending more physical time with each other, doesn’t necessarily mean your marriage will be stronger on the other end of this pandemic. Too many couples have been mistakenly confusing proximity for intimacy, allowing quarantine (marital house arrest) to take the place of date nights, meaningful conversation, thoughtful interactions, and emotional connection. Research tells us that couples who are not actively and intentionally moving towards each other, not just sitting next to each other, are passively drifting apart. Here are a few simple, strategic steps you and your spouse can take, to make sure your marriage actually thrives during this crisis, instead of just survives.
Pray Together Daily– Studies have found that couples who pray with each other, and for each other, at least 30 seconds a day, feel emotionally closer. Not only does prayer create deeper intimacy between you and your spouse, it also keeps your marriage anchored to the Rock, when the waves of uncertainty are crashing all around you.
Prioritize Fun – One of the first things couples tend to do, when faced with a crisis, is to stop having fun together. They allow fear, stress, financial limitations, or other restrictions to unknowingly steal their joy. Just because you can’t “go out,” doesn’t mean you have to stop dating. Order take out once a week, and lock yourselves in your bedroom for an hour or two. Learn a new game together. Snuggle on the couch and binge a show. Fun is something you create in a relationship, by being innovative and intentional, not something you’re dependent on society to create for you.
Talk About the Hard Stuff – Since Shared Pain is one of the main things that creates intimacy in marriage, view this crisis as an opportunity to work through an area or issue in your marriage that has been challenging or a consistent source of conflict in the past. If finances have been a perpetual struggle for your relationship, take this forced, together-time to go through Dave Ramsey’s Online Course. If communication tends to be your bugaboo, go through a book together by Dr. John Gottman or watch Laugh your Way to a Bette Marriage by Mark Gungor. The more you get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable, with your partner, the more God can use Healthy Pain to draw you both closer to Him, and closer to each other.
Schedule Weekly Sex – Many couples assume that just being around each other more should naturally produce greater, sexual intimacy in their relationship. But in reality, increased proximity to one another can actually have the opposite effect, since couples will unintentionally place sex on the back burner, believing “We’ll get to it later.” Yet Sex not only produces physical and emotional closeness in marriage, it also reduces stress, burns calories, improves our immune system, and enhances our overall mood. These sound like benefits any person would want to capitalize on, especially when quarantine life tends to have the opposite effects on us. Having more sex with your partner won’t fix this Corona Crisis, but it will likely make staying at home a little more bearable.