Connecting together, as a couple and a family is especially important during this difficult time when the Coronavirus is causing so many of us to be homebound.
Some of you are home because you lost your job. Or it could be that your school is shut down. Some of you are isolating yourselves because of the threat of contracting and/or spreading the virus. And others are home because your government has made this a requirement. We’re all being urged to participate in “Social Distancing” to protect ourselves, and our communities. But what about social distancing within our homes? If we’re not careful, that just might happen.
Connecting Together During Difficult Times
It’s easy to lose track of the time we spend on social media while our spouse and children are sitting or standing right next to us. (We have seen this quite often in restaurants and stores.)
“With schools closing, theme parks gone dark, workers being sent home, and sickness threatening our loved ones, time is loudly and slowly ticking by. Time used to fly. Now it seems to have landed and is screaming for our attention.”
That’s a reality that Debi Walter, from The Romantic Vineyard points out. And it can be very true. There are a lot of things screaming for our attention during this challenging and difficult time. But we need to be careful not to socially distance ourselves away from those within our own homes. We can get so caught up in phones, social media, T.V. and such that we neglect to connect face-to-face with our family member living within our home.
As a matter of fact, Debi wrote a “timely” blog on this matter titled, “Tick, Tock, Tick Tock.” We want to share it with you because it’s an important topic, and she states it so well. We’ll just add a few additional thoughts in [brackets]. She writes:
What are we to do with all this time? There are only so many movies you can watch and too much screen time isn’t healthy for our kids or for us. It may seem obvious to some, but in our normal fast-paced culture have we forgotten a basic of life? How to communicate face to face with those we love?
Our kids are used to being entertained, escorted from one activity to another, or steeped in team-related sports from the moment they awake until their heads hit the pillow at night. When they aren’t doing this, they are playing video games, texting or playing with friends or watching TV.
And us? We stay just as busy; packing lunches, doing laundry, cleaning house, yard work, helping with school homework. Not to mention our own workload outside of the home with our careers and church ministry. But what do we do now that we have all this time together?
The “Time Together Challenge
If you are an empty-nester, your home may already seem eerily quiet. This social distancing has made the quiet even louder. You want to connect, but aren’t sure how to begin.
If your marriage is not in a great place, you may realize it now even more since there are no diversions to keep you distracted. You want to get the conversation started, but it seems awkward and is it really worth stirring it all up again?
If your kids avoid spending time with you, this has made the tension even more uncomfortable. You long for your family to enjoy being together during this time, but it all seems too far-gone to redeem.
There is good news! God is in the relationship business. He knows how to restore what has been broken. So, don’t lose heart. This may be the very time God has chosen to help you and your family grow, and change. As long as you’re breathing, there is hope! Here are a few suggestions:
Connecting Together As Empty Nesters:
- Do something unexpected to surprise your spouse.
- Be the one to initiate sex. [And sometimes, just cuddle, kiss, and hug without initiating sex. Here are some suggestions you might enjoy: Holding Hands and Kissing.]
- Go for a walk at sunset holding hands. [You can even Prayer Walk through your neighborhood, praying for the family that is living within each home.]
- Spend time talking using our Date Night Questions. [You’ll also find a number of date night questions, and conversation starters in the Marriage Missions Communication Tools topic. Plus, we have other Communication Tools that you can find helpful to work through other types of “conversations.”]
- Put together a puzzle.
Connecting Together As a Struggling Couple:
- Purpose to be an encourager. Look for the good in your spouse and celebrate it.
- Reflect back on what attracted you to your spouse in the first place. Tell them!
- Do what you did at first, if you’ve lost your first love.
- Pray for your spouse. And ask God to help you make the most of this time together.
- Read the book, Cherish, by Gary Thomas. If your spouse will read it with you, that’s even better. [We love this book and join Debi in highly recommending that you read it.]
- Plan an in-home date night using the DRAB Dates as a springboard of ideas. (NOTE: DRAB stands for “Does Not Require Babysitter.”) This is because they’re all at home dates.
Connecting Together as a Family:
- Get outside together as much as possible.
- Play hide and go seek or play Hide the Timer. (Take a kitchen timer, the kind the ticks loudly, and set it for 5 minutes. They have to find the timer before it goes off. The fun part of this game is they have to be quiet to listen for the timer.)
- Play a group video game like Just Dance. [You can also bring out a board game to play together. Suggestions include: Phase 10, Sorry, Connect 10, Farkle, and Rummy, to name a few.]
- Play 20 Questions. You start by thinking of something. They ask yes or no questions and try to figure out what you’re thinking.
- Have a No Screen Time policy during meals together. Ask your kids questions about topics that interest them. [You can even find children’s questions posted on the Internet.]
[If your children are fearful, make an extra effort together to help them understand God is in control. The phrase, “Fear not” or “Be not afraid“, occurs dozens of times in Bible. Use a concordance or do an Internet search and pick one verse (or a few) to read together each day. And then discuss how you can apply it to your circumstances. Isaiah 41:10 is an example of a “Fear not” verse. In that scripture God says:
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (ESV)
This is also a great exercise for you as a couple even if you don’t have children.]
Take and MAKE the Most of This Opportunity So You are Connecting Together
Keep in mind that the clock is tick-tocking away. May we seize this opportunity to connect with those who mean the most to us!
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV)
That is so, so true. Some of you are home because you lost your job. Or it could be that your school is shut down. Please don’t allow yourself to get caught up in fear. And don’t allow yourself to fritter away the time either. Make the effort to connect in meaningful ways with your God, and with your spouse and the family members within your home.
In conclusion, here is a video that features Drs. Elias and Denise Moitinho. In it, they give some simple tips that couples can use during this season of “social distancing.” We are using several of these simple suggestions and encourage you to do the same:
Above all, keep in mind that there isn’t any part of this world’s event that escapes God’s attention. He knew it would happen, and has a plan for each of us. But it is up to us to participate with Him in asking Him how we can “redeem the time” in the best way possible. As we look, and draw close to Him, He will point the way. But we need to pay attention, and then follow His lead. Remember, God is all about connection. So find inventive ways of connecting together during this difficult time.
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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