The first Saturday of the government-recommended COVID-19 quarantine went exceptionally well. We didn’t set the alarm clock. We talked at length over a leisurely breakfast. There was no place we had to be and nothing we had to do that day. Sunday, the healthy members of our life group met at our house for Sunday services, joined us for a hot dog lunch, and then we hiked a local mountain. It was pleasant and restful. As the recommended self-quarantine turned in to a directive on Monday, we got our work done and had time in the evening to watch an old movie. Getting rest was great!
Then came Tuesday. Things didn’t go as well. Apparently, I talk a lot, get in the way, and have annoying, spontaneous ideas. I was suspicious that Bob had purposely eaten the chicken breast I was protecting for chicken salad. And then we stopped talking and went to our respective corners. What started well, went downhill fast.
As the quarantine lengthens, we should expect both ups and downs to come. And while some are asking how we can best make use of the good times, I’d like to ask how we can make use of both the good and the bad times. Certainly, it is a time to have deeper and lengthier conversations—to deepen our connection and draw closer. It’s a time to explore the possibilities for at-home date nights. It’s a time for collaborating on those projects you wanted to do but there wasn’t time for. It’s a time to initiate the little favors your spouse likes or make a new recipe together or read the Bible and pray together as a couple. It’s an opportunity to take time for six-second kisses.
But let the difficult times also be a trigger to spiritually grow up. Ask God what part of any unhappiness or conflict can be traced back to you. Take the log out of your own eye. Then, be very brave, sit down with your spouse, pray and ask God to show you what went wrong and why it went wrong (or why it continues to be a problem). Listen carefully to why your spouse was hurt by your words or your actions. Discuss how you can avoid the problem next time. Take time to clear the air about subjects that are “too touchy to discuss.”
Bob and I really did have a falling out on Tuesday. The next day was make-up Wednesday. We sat down for morning devotions. Bob explained why my actions the previous day had thrown him off kilter, and then he asked my forgiveness for his actions. Half-way there. I then explained why my actions were justified and left for my morning walk. When I got back, I had a decision to make. I could forgive or hold a grudge. I could initiate an “up” or perpetuate a “down.” I decided to walk through the door and tell Bob it was time for a six-second kiss.