improve your marriage during coronavirus lockdown

We all have romantic ideas of how our honeymoon should be. Well, my honeymoon was far from romantic. For some insane reason we thought a 3-day road-trip from Sydney to Queensland was a good idea – IT WASN’T.

Leading up to our Wedding Day my husband just finished his last exam for the term and was exhausted. So on our honeymoon … 

  • He slept a lot.
  • I went on early morning runs along the beach – alone. 
  • He talked a lot.
  • I didn’t say much – Oh, how times have changed!
  • And to top it off one night we stayed in a hotel with single beds – and he didn’t seem to mind – he just slept and slept and slept!

This all sounds rather miserable and at the time I suppose it was! In fact, it gave me cause to doubt whether I’d made the right decision. As we climbed the back fire-escape stairs to our hotel room – I have no idea why we were doing that – I remember thinking, was the hotel under construction or demolition? All I know is we had an ordinary room with single beds and I thought,

What have I done…I can’t get out of this! 

Thinking ‘I can’t get out of this’ indicates at the very least I knew marriage was a life long commitment – for better or for worse. This was a little taste of the worse – so I thought. I look back now and laugh at what I thought worse was!

Although things were not so good on our honeymoon – one thing I knew for sure was that my husband was my best friend. According to Aristotle there are three types of friendships.

The Pleasant, the Useful and the Virtuous Friendship

When we were courting, my husband and I had a pleasant friendship  – socialising, partying, being polite, showing respect, and having a good time together. 

We also had a useful friendship – active listening, talking and giving advice – we each got something out of the relationship. 

But more importantly we were moving toward having a virtuous friendship – a deep and lasting friendship, bringing the best out in each other.

Although this Aristotelian “Virtuous” friendship gave a strong foundation to our eventual marriage and got us through that unromantic honeymoon, it also helped us stay together through all our ups and downs. 

Not being perfect we didn’t always get it right and needed to work harder to avoid detouring into the first two types of friendship. Although legitimate in themselves they are not enough to build a lasting relationship. The point is, marriages need to be based on a Virtuous friendship – so we can get through those tough times and deepen the relationship. Therefore, we need to work hard on our relationships if we are to achieve true happiness or ‘Eudaimonia’ as Aristotle would say. Otherwise the temptation to walk away becomes a real option because the other person is no longer any fun or of any use.

So how can we build our a immunity to move our relationship beyond those first two types of friendships? How can we use the Coronovirus to create a honeymoon-virus?

Let’s isolate with our husband and let the romance flourish

Although having a Pleasant or Useful type relationship is not enough – they still play an important role in marriage. We still need to have fun to help each other.

Bring it on – lets go back to our honeymoon days!!!

Oh the memories – how polite we were then and what etiquette we had…”Darling, would you like…?” “What can I do to help you?” “No thank you. Yes please” or “Do you think you could lie on you side so you don’t snore?” “Thank you darling”.

Now, some honeymoon stages are shorter than others. The saying, Familiarity Breeds Contempt can often show itself in close relationships and can lead to a loss of respect for the other person.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

For example, one of my newly married daughters and her husband were staying with us not long after they were married. My daughter and I needed to go to an early morning appointment. So I went into their darkened room and crept silently across the floor reaching for the bed. I stretched out my hand feeling along the bed and gently touched her shoulder.

Suddenly she began slapping my hand and pushing her husband over telling him to leave her alone and roll over. I had to hold back my laughter – it only took 6 months for her familiarity to show some level of contempt! 

We can use this Covid-19 opportunity to turn our self-imposed isolation into a second honeymoon. We can brush up on certain good habits – Aristotle’s moral virtues – that may have faded away over the years. We can recover the etiquette we once showed toward each other and re-enkindle the romance in our pursuit of happiness. 

Here are some suggestions we could try…

  • Treat each other with consideration, respect and honesty 
  • Think before we act rather than acting without thinking and regretting it later
  • Communicate better verbally and physically – show touches of affection
  • Resolve situations by building up our relationship rather than tearing it down – practice patience and understanding

The success of our relationship will be directly proportional to how considerate, respectful and honest we are with each other.

We all know when the kids come along life gets even more hectic and our ability to maintain etiquette is tested in the furnace of true love.

When the kids are under our feet we have to try even harder to maintain intimacy. Here are some suggestions…

In the early years of our marriage I was working as a teacher while my husband completed his Masters. I made sandwiches for his lunch with love notes inside; when I was away at courses I’d leave love notes in the oven, fridge, underware drawers and so on.

He’d surprise me with date nights and organize secret weekends away from time to time. I remember once when the children were little John organized a surprise weekend away – without them.  He secretly packed my bags and threw them out the front window into the waiting hands of the children who formed an assembly line to the car and hid the bags in the trunk. 

We also put the kids in bed early so we had time together. Sometimes we’d stay up later than we should just so there was time for each other. 

Now that the years have now passed and we find ourselves alone, we have had to find new ways to keep up the romance and have some fun. We also finding new ways to apologise which has improved and deepened our relationship – check out my previous blog on apologies.

And now we are “empty nesters” enjoying the fruits of our labors.

Throughout our marriage we always found time for each other and worked hard on our relationship while raising the children. This has had a positive impact on our relationship and started our children on the road to successful relationships as well. 

How often have we complained that there is just not enough time. Not enough time for work, not enough time to read, not enough time to study, not enough time to pray, not enough time to relax, not enough time for family and friends and not enough time for each other. Well now we have been given an opportunity to make time for all those things. Let’s use this Coronavirus to make time for a honeymoon-virus that will reach all the crevices of our lives and make them richer and more fulfilling.