A crapshoot, by definition, means “something that has an unpredictable outcome.” No matter the circumstances that led to a decision to be in a long-term relationship – there is a pretty high probability that things might change over the years. In fact, one might suggest that it’s quite expected that either the individuals themselves, circumstances, or choices made, might change the future of the marriage.
I remember the parents of one of my college friends who had a very healthy and loving marriage. However, they tragically lost their son, my friend’s brother, in a horrible rock climbing accident. The parents grieved in totally different ways, and it wasn’t long before their marriage just didn’t fit anymore.
Warren and I, too, have had our fair share of hard and challenging times – and I’m confident we’re not alone in this. This past year, in particular, has been challenging as we spent a lot (like a lot, a lot) of time together in pretty close quarters. The stressors of jobs, family, money, etc. all felt even more pronounced during this past year – mostly because there was very little time spent apart to reflect and gain perspective.
A few weeks ago, Warren was talking with one of his friends about this. His friend wisely said, “You have to keep the marriage on the front burner. You can’t keep pushing it to the back burner.”
His friend’s words resonated with both of us. We realized that the marriage truly hadn’t been on the front burner throughout much of this past year. The extended time together during the pandemic, made it feel like the marriage was front and center all the time – but in reality, there was very little intentionality, date nights, or quality time that helped nurture the relationship.
We’ve begun to address this by doing at least two of these things every day:
- Reading Recovering Couples Affirmations together
- Using an app called Paired to take daily quizzes/games about our relationship (I love this app!)
- Eating dinner at the table, instead of in front of the TV
- Taking a long walk together
- Going on an outing without Lucy (our pup)
- Listening to a podcast together – Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel is a great one!
Slowly, but surely, it’s helping Warren and I feel like the marriage is on the front burner again.
How about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you have navigated committed relationships (or helped your clients do so) during the pandemic.
I’m all ears if you have anything you’d like to share.