Local lockdowns, disruptions to work and personal events are things so many of us are experiencing right now. Wherever you are in the world and whatever your personal circumstances are, life is not without its obstacles, roadblocks and challenges.
This pandemic and everything that has come with it have certainly played a number on our relationships! A good marriage and all other relationships doesn’t just happen by accident, it happens by INTENTION.
Successful couples have made a conscious decision to prioritise their relationships.
When it comes to challenges we face in this pandemic, the words below that I read in an article, make a lot of sense.
We are NOT all in the same BOAT!
We are in the same ‘STORM’
Some have YACHTS,
Some have CANOES and some are ‘DROWNING’
Just be kind and HELP when you can!
We can only help with things within our control. If anything, what we need to realise is that, life is constantly about learning to adapt and adjust to changes in all stages and seasons of personal growth and in our relationships.
It’s good to shift our mindsets in knowing that not all storms come to disrupt our lives. Some come to clear our path. In so, each of us learning to be the ‘best support human’ when our spouse, family and friends are going through difficult times, is crucial to our relationships. We owe this to each other.
Why? Let’s take a look at our marital relationship, God created mankind as man and woman and blessed their union, making them a help and support for each other, to love unselfishly and for their love to overflow and touch others, like that of Christ to his church.
Let’s change our mindset and shift our focus for a bit. This might sound crazy but let’s take a look at what may have been good for our relationships in this pandemic, not just our couple relationship but all the meaningful relationships in our lives. Let’s put them to the test and hopefully it lets us see things through a broader perspective.
Here are some of the positive effects on relationships we experienced in this pandemic thus far.
1) We have a better understanding of quality time (vs. quantity).
Yes many of us have spent a lot more time with our spouse and children this year. How much of it was simply time when you happened to be under the same roof, but you weren’t really enjoying each other’s company? Quality time takes effort and intention, even when quantity is plentiful and many of our options for distraction are taken away. We may have learned that 20minutes of good conversation can do more for our relational and emotional wellbeing than 2 hours of zoning out looking at our phones.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but wise, making the best use of time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
2) We cherished non-text based interaction.
Pre-pandemic, many of us would rather text than have an actual phone conversation. After months of working remotely or simply not being able to chat in person whenever we liked, we now appreciate the nuanced communication cues that come with a certain tone, or facial expression, or the warmth conveyed through a casual hug from a loved one. These are all opportunities for small moments of human connection that a message can’t capture in quite the same way.
“Let love be genuine, abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”
3) We learned how we can show up for our loved ones.
We’ve probably all had our share of emotional ups and downs this year. Sometimes we needed support and sometimes we provided it. Whether it was weekly video chats with grandparents or cooking up our spouse’s favourite comfort foods, we found ways to lift each other’s spirits and show our love in small, yet meaningful ways.
“So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
4) We strengthened our resilience muscles.
This pandemic year we had to learn to flex and adapt. Our normal routines and daily lives were flipped in ways we hadn’t experienced before. Special events and occasions were postponed, modified or cancelled. We dealt with stress, disappointment, fear and uncertainty but we powered on and found new creative ways to connect, celebrate and foster a sense of normalcy among our family and friends. This “bouncing back” is true resilience in action!
“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.
5) Above all, we are grateful.
We are grateful for spouses, who sometimes made us want to pull out our hair in annoyance, but also pulled their weight and more as we navigated through times that felt chaotic like working from home and managing kids schooling from home at the same time.
We are grateful for our family, friends and co-workers who listened, encouraged and laughed with us. When so much of the familiar was stripped away, it allowed us an opportunity to be grateful for our relationships. We relied on them to keep us grounded and help keep things in perspective, to make us feel like we’re not alone in all of the craziness. If not for this sudden unexpected change in our world, we often tend to get caught up in our own busy lives, the juggle between work, managing the kids, the home and we tend to take each other for granted. Even though, we might still do that from time to time, this pandemic has brought us back to centre and helped us focus on what was truly important and we should be grateful for this reminder and never forget it moving forward.
God has helped us envision a future without His mercy and grace upon us. It’s a call to never forget Him and to rebuild an intimate relationship with Him. We are nothing without the Lord God in our lives.
We know He will never forsake or abandon us. He is always with us. This pandemic was a call to RESET love, life, relationship with our spouse, family, friends and community. An opportunity to see what else we can do to love and serve others, in His name. Amen. Cynthia Nathan
Relationship Counsellor and Marriage & Relationship Educator
Hello everyone, I'm Cynthia Nathan, first and foremost a daughter of God then a Relationship Counselor and Marriage & Relationship Educator. I am a mother of 2 teenagers aged 19 and 17. I have been married for 24 years to my husband Ravi and we migrated to Australia in 2008 from Malaysia.
I feel blessed that God has called me to do this work and it is an honour to work with and help couples from the Pre-Marriage stage, Expectant parent stage and right through the ages and stages of their marital journey. It truly is a blessing and God's purpose for my life.
I have a small Private Practice in Epping, NSW and see clients in my cosy, comfortable office. I help hold a safe haven for them to be able to express themselves, to be heard, to be understood and most of all to help them make 'meaning' behind each other's words, whilst introducing skills, interventions and guiding them along.
This has proven to be very effective with all my couples and they seem to be happier and in a better place since they started. I ask God to use me as His instrument in helping these couples, protecting their children and families by bringing peace and unity into their hearts.
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