Today as we are experiencing unknown times, isolation, and added stressors, each can impact the relationship between couples.
Learning how to live a new normal during isolation can be difficult, but not impossible.
There is hope for strengthening bonds of love and build a strong marriage. To manage the strain placed on marriages and relationships, I want to highlight what I call Hearts Open Perseverance Endurance.
Unconditional love that does not concentrate on the things that annoy us but sees past the quirks and into the heart of the person we married.
Unconditional love that can forgive mishaps and forgettable moments like not putting the toilet seat down or putting the top on the toothpaste.
When the focus is placed at the heart, we are able to reflect and recall the memories of how far we have come and that unconditional love is not easily frustrated or broken because you spend a long time together.
But rather by being patient in a relationship and knowing that this too shall pass and that your love may face challenges during isolation, but together you have what it takes to get through the unknown and build a strong marriage.
Intimacy simply is into the other. What are some ways you can become more into your spouse? How can you build upon what exists in your love, or how can you improve?
This is an opportunity for you to draw closer, connect, and even rekindle the romance in your relationship. Think outside the box and be innovative in the love you share with your spouse.
I believe that Colossians 3:12-14, NRSV from the Christian text sums up the importance of love as a bond that is inclusive of forgiveness, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience to be worn like a garment which states:
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Our bond should be strengthened during this time and not cause division.
A bond built on love, forgiveness, and understanding. A bond that shows evidence of compassion towards one another.
A bond that draws us closer and helps to build a strong marriage where love is the glue.
When you think of open and honest communication, contemplate on your ability to not block or become guarded rather express your feelings in a manner were, they are able to be heard, received, and learned.
We communicate to learn, and this gives us the opportunity to become aware.
Additionally, when we are open, it positions couples to gain understanding and demonstrate compassion towards one another.
When we are open, it allows for trust to be gained and established. This leads to support.
When we can support one another, it continues to build a stronger relationship that is able to endure the unknown and foster a relationship that can survive challenges and with time build a strong marriage.
During this time of isolation, let us meet challenges with tenacity and persistence.
Moreover, to look towards a future that is built on determination. Determined to love, respect, honor, listen, cherish, and trust.
William Barclay, a Scottish Theologian, stated, “Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory” (Pamphile, 2013).
We have the opportunity during this time of quarantine to turn this situation into memories of glory.
To create stories of adoration, beauty, courage, and determination that produce a bouget of narratives that speak for years to come.
The chance to develop patience and together learn how to be resilient during these tough and unknown times.
H.O.P.E., during times of uncertainty, provides opportunities to build a strong marriage, renew, and strengthen relationships.
Provides a chance to show one’s heart, become open, preserver through barriers, and endure challenges, as each creates the potential for love to be planted, watered, cultivated, and blossom into a beautiful arrangement of narratives that speaks life into each other and the marriage for years to come.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rev. Dr. Myrna Thurmond-Malone is a pastoral psychotherapist and received her educational training at the College of St. Elizabeth, Berkeley College, Mercer University, the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), Columbia Theological Seminary, Higher Impact Training and Counseling (HITC), Anger Management Institute and International Association of Trauma Professionals. In her quest for learning, cultivating and crafting her skills, she pursued additional extensive training in clinical pastoral education, and clinical pastoral counseling and psychotherapy. She completed 12 months of clinical pastoral education at St. Luke's Counseling Center and Emory Center for Pastoral Services; and 18 months of clinical pastoral counseling and psychotherapy training at Care and Counseling Center of Georgia. Lastly, she served 3 1/2 years as a volunteer Chaplain and grief and loss counselor at Metro State Women's prison.
(Myrna Thurmond-Malone is also listed in Best Marriage Therapists in Riverdale)