While staying home due to pandemic restrictions have pushed many relationships to their breaking points, now is the perfect time to strengthen marriages.
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“Will Coronavirus Infect Your Marriage?”—“11 Ways to Stay Married Amid Coronavirus Concerns”—“How to End Pandemic Fights with Your Partner.” These and similar articles flooded newspapers and magazines almost immediately as the historic COVID-19 crisis began to take root. Shelter-in-place orders pushed relationships to their breaking points.
Many divorce lawyers expect splits to skyrocket when quarantine guidelines are eased.
Of course, any coronavirus contentions are symptoms of deeper marital problems. These rifts were there before COVID-19—and the pandemic just brought them to the surface.
Yet, even for healthier marriages, being cooped up together can be wearing. Time magazine explained: “Have you recently noticed how loud your partner chews? That her placement of items in the fridge is illogical? That his consumption of toilet paper/soap/the good snacks is remarkably high? That parenting is not one of his or her core strengths? If so, you might be married during a pandemic.”
Whenever marital problems arise—whether during a global pandemic or no—husbands and wives have two options: allow the annoyances and issues to fester until they explode, or address them head on and forge an even stronger union.
The Restored Church of God, the publisher of this magazine, offers more helpful material and truth—all free!—on marriage and the family than any other church on Earth. The rest of this article is adapted from that literature and offers a taste of the tools you and your spouse can use to get back to the basics.
Fine Art of Right Communication
Miscommunication, bad communication, or lack of communication is one of the leading causes of divorce. Husbands should take the lead in proper communication with his wife.
Husbands must understand that the wife has often been home all day with the children. She may be frustrated and in desperate need of conversation with someone above the age of 12—or maybe even three. The husband who comes home from work not wanting to talk, but rather to just sit down, have a beer, read the paper, and watch the news, has effectively cut off his wife from communication with another adult.
Do not forget about her needs. Talk to her. Find out about her day. Allow her to open up. Show interest in what she has accomplished and what may have happened with the children.
Wives, be sure you do open up to your husband. You may be by nature “more verbal” or “less verbal” than he is. Depending on which is the case, strive to do a little more listening, or a little more talking. The couple should strive to find a balance in communication, with each expressing an opinion about the things on their minds.
Husbands and wives should both always remember to discuss their problems with each other, while relying on God for ultimate spiritual understanding. All problems should always be discussed with God. Wives, in particular, should discuss their spiritual problems with their husbands while never neglecting to remember that God is the One ultimately guiding and helping them spiritually. Your husband cannot grant you salvation.
Also, avoid arguing at all costs. Nothing productive ever comes from heated exchanges. The devastating effect of this kind of “communication” lasts longer, and bites deeper, than the couple doing it even begins to realize.
If you are wrong, always apologize. Defending the indefensible is silly—and unproductive. Never store up feelings, and then dump them in a heated moment of release. The Golden Rule—“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”—is also the greatest rule of communication within marriage!
Manage Your Finances Together
All wage earners are paid a specific amount of money. Whether large or small, this is the amount they must live on. Financial problems—usually caused by couples living beyond their means—along with poor communication and sexual problems—form the “big three” causes for marital break-up.
A few helpful points:
First, develop the habit of systematic, monthly saving early in your marriage.
Next, avoid credit-buying. It is a trap far deeper than it appears. If you do use credit cards, pay them off immediately every month.
Finally, plan your purchases. Develop priorities so that you do not try to buy everything at once. Then, determine to buy quality as much as possible. Practice patience. Be willing to wait. You will be glad you did!
The Truly Happy Marriage
God tells husbands: “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of [your] life” (Ecc. 9:9). For this to be possible, the wife must be doing the same—and this should be the daily goal of every married couple. None of the principles in this article will bring true, complete happiness unless both mates are diligently applying them. Successful marriages are always the product of two people working together toward the same purpose in the same way—with the same understanding.
If you have a wonderful husband or a wonderful wife, you are truly blessed—and are much more unusual than you may think. But if you do not have a good husband or a good wife, then strive to grow as much as you possibly can, understanding that your mate may follow your example.
God says this to husbands who have been blessed to have found a wonderful wife: “Whoso finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of the Lord” (Prov. 18:22).
A virtuous wife is wonderful—“a good thing”—and wise husbands-to-be will diligently search for such a woman before getting married. Special favor from God is just one benefit that comes from marrying a woman of great character.
Wives, strive to be special in every way that you possibly can. Husbands, strive to be worthy of such a woman. You may discover that God has sent you one.
The couple that works at their marriage will find that their marriage works!—and far better than they had ever dreamed!
On your wedding day, you promised—probably vowed!—before God to spend the rest of your life married to the same person. Do not let this commitment wane or blur in your mind. It was “for better or for worse.” It is easy for a couple to remain committed when times are “better,” but not so easy during a “worse” phase. A close relationship with God, based on a deep recognition that He knows how to produce all the best and most wonderful things in both marriage and life, has no substitute. No matter what difficulty your marriage is facing, bring God into it. He has all the true and lasting solutions.
Commitment is the bedrock foundation of every strong marriage. Remember, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” The rewards that flow from dedication to your wedding vows will bring joy beyond words.
Happiness depends far more on what you do than on what your mate or anyone else does. No matter the current state of your marriage, you can improve it. Take responsibility. You can grow—and it can get better. Remember, God instituted the marriage covenant—and the principles governing its success. Without them, real happiness is impossible! With them, you can experience a boundless joy you have never known!
The place to start is our essential booklet You Can Build a Happy Marriage. We also have material regarding keys to childrearing, proper dating and courtship, the God-ordained purpose of sex, the family unit, and divorce and remarriage. Also examine our extraordinary magazine for teenagers and another for families, plus seven Bible story books and lessons in seven levels—ALL vital for teaching the truth of God’s Word to children and teenagers of all ages. All of this is available at rcg.org.
The family is under assault as never before. Take time to explore the vast cornucopia of truth we have available on every conceivable question you could ask about these subjects—but also many, many others. You will be so very glad that you did.