We vowed to love each other in good times and in bad ... wait, does that include during a global pandemic?!

This pandemic has shrunk our worlds—well, at least the physical ones. While our digital worlds have expanded greatly, it can be awfully cozy being stuck in a house—even with people you like! And if you’re not used to that, it can be unsettling.

Create Space

Hubby: Carve out space and time for yourself. It might be going to the basement and watching a movie or sitting in a recliner and reading a good book. But just give yourself space, so you’re better prepared when the space gets tight again. 

Wife: I don’t always sit well, so my space is outdoors. I spent as much time as humanly possible (and without neglecting my family) walking, hiking, paddle boarding, and running. It was safer outdoors even without a mask, so I took advantage of the movement, natural vitamin D, and the beautiful Colorado nature.

Communicate Expectations

Wife: As the resident over-communicator in the relationship, I took this on as a personal challenge. We hadn’t endured a pandemic before and didn’t know what to expect or how the other one was feeling. I found it helpful to speak up about my own feelings, longings, and doubts. My husband and I set aside time to meet each week (Mondays, to be exact), and we talk about logistics and schedules—and we also share deeper feelings.

Hubby: Even though we were together more, it was still important to communicate expectations, plans, hopes, dreams, and concerns. Our Monday meetings are an integral part of the week, and they’ll continue long after this pandemic is over. 

Engage in Hobbies

Hubby: I’m a big Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fan, and while it’s WAY more fun to play around a table, face to face, the pandemic put the kibosh on that for a while. So we took our game online and still found a way to play. Was it ideal? No. Was it better than not playing? YES. And we’re not the only ones. Wizards of the Coast, who publish D&D, had their biggest year ever, with sales increasing by 33% as people took their games online. You might not be a geek like me, but whatever your hobby is, don’t let this pandemic stop you from participating in things that bring you joy. It might take some concessions, and thinking outside the box, but it’s worth the effort. 

Wife: So… I didn’t attend the D&D virtual game times. But I did spend time outdoors. I invested in an additional paddleboard and invited friends along several times. This fed my need to be active and outdoors—and connect meaningfully with friends and family.

Let Creativity Flow

Hubby: Many people took the opportunity of this forced isolation to learn something new, or follow through on something they’ve always wanted to do. Our son taught himself to play guitar, and now he’s working on learning advanced techniques. Would he have done that if we hadn’t been isolating? Who knows. We also did things of questionable usefulness. The whole family watched the entire Psych series, for instance. It was terrific. The bottom line is that there’s going to be plenty of stuff to hate this pandemic for, so won’t it be nice to say that there’s something to be thankful for? 

Wife: Does organization count as creativity? I vote yes! With additional time on my hands, I reorganized a few closets and took care of some house projects that were stuck on the back burner. I also searched on Facebook Marketplace to upgrade our living room furniture and to get rid of so many things we no longer need. Porch pick-up and paying via Venmo are great ways to engage with others safely.

Forgive Each Other … Lots

Wife: We’re human, and we make mistakes. We’ve learned to forgive each other more often during the pandemic. So many things changed. We got tired of thinking outside of the box. It was easy for me to give my best elsewhere, and leave my husband with the crummy leftovers. I needed to apologize, and thankfully he forgave. And … making up is so much fun!

Hubby: Thankfully, I never did anything that needed me to ask for forgiveness. (I should probably ask for forgiveness for even writing that …)

Prepare for the End: What will you keep from that time? What will you change? 

Hubby: As a pretty strong introvert, I have to be honest: The first six to nine months of this pandemic was no sweat for me. “Wait, you mean I HAVE to stay home and read books and watch TV? Uh … I got this!” As time went on, though, I realized that I really do need people, and that community is important. So I truly hope that on the other side of this I’m able to appreciate being with people more. Time will tell. 

Wife: As an achiever, I often go through life at lightning speed. The pandemic forced me to slow down (at least a little), and I’m thankful for that. I want to be choosy about what I allow in my schedule. Even our 13-year-old has reflected that he’s thankful we spent more time together as a family. That’s what I want to keep from this … slow down long enough to engage with my husband and kids.