Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Family Forte: The Quarantine Quest for Meaningful Marriage

By: Topher & Ashley Wiles
Here we are, after sixteen years of God given marriage, asking ourselves, “What does love look like during coronacation?”  Many of you are also asking how to make the most of your relationship during this unprecedented self-isolating time.  Whether you are both working normal hours, both out of a job at home together, or even being isolated in different parts of the house due to a positive Covid-19 test, these stressful times can test your marriage.  As Family Forte writers, Ashley and I believe working toward a solid Godly marriage will benefit you emotionally, physically, and spiritually during the coronavirus pandemic.  We aren’t alone.
Harvard Medical School found that happily married people live longer, have fewer strokes & heart attacks, have a lower chance of becoming depressed, are more likely to survive cancer, and survive major operations more often.  The key though, is being in a safe, secure, and joy-filled marriage, which takes work. https://bit.ly/HarvardMarriage
As stress levels rise during the coronavirus pandemic due to economic struggles, health challenges, and changes to your family routine, here are a few ideas we suggest that could keep you distancing yourself from disaster and stepping toward that safety and security in marriage that we all desire. 
Quarantine Approved Dates – Fun For You Both!
A Fancy Dinner In – Even though shopping for food has become a stressor for some people, once you’re at home, you can prepare a meal for your mate that gives them a sweet reprieve from daily stressors.  Banish the kids from the dining room with a family friendly approved movie and Domino’s pizza (they deliver in Sparta).  Then go all out with the candles, the mood music, and the smiles to follow.  Dressing up will even help the night feel different from the normal monotony and give the meal that “special feel.” 
Virtual Tour a Museum Together – Cuddle up on the couch next to one another with just one video device and take a virtual tour of a worldwide attraction.  Look up “Wanderlust Travel Videos” and catch amazing virtual tours of the Lourvre Museum, the Eifeel Tower, Amsterdam City Center, and Valencia Beach in Spain.  With no commentary or promotions (other than Youtube Ads) you both almost feel like you’re experiencing the attraction yourself!  https://bit.ly/WanderLustTravel
Dance Studio – It really doesn’t take a lot of effort to turn your living room into a place for a dance date night!  There are plenty of videos out there that will give you quality instructions on how swing dance, waltz, foxtrot, and tango.  Scoot the couches out of the way, gaze longingly into each other’s eyes, and enjoy a night filled with physical activity, laughs, and bonding time.  Our family has taken it to another level where we regularly host 15 minute dance sessions to our favorite songs all together in the living room  Yes, you may get a few toes stepped on, but you can also request a foot massage from your mate when it’s all over!  Howcast has a great series of ballroom dance tutorials such as this one on the Foxtrot. https://bit.ly/HowcastFoxtrot
Bonding When Isolated – A Tough Challenge
photocred: Newsweek Magazine
We know some of you are living in isolation right this moment, which is tough not only on you, but on your spouse too.  Isolation puts a serious strain on marriages whether you’ve tested positive for the coronavirus or you’re working in a hospital covid-19 floor and self-isolating from your family.  Here are a couple ideas for you to enjoy during this quarantine time.
Online Social Gaming – Forbes magazine documented a social game called “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” that can help a couple pass the time from separate rooms to give you a little break from all the media tracking the pandemic.  This game sells for $60 for the Nintendo Switch and gets high ratings for its interactability between partners.  For those who are looking for free interaction on the computer, “Second Life” is a virtual option.  A few years ago this interactive social atmosphere was really promoted among educators for a way to teach and share virtually, and I enjoyed it immensely.  The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) really promoted this platform and hosted virtual conferences in it before the days of Zoom.  Of course, it is still hard to beat that 2009 hit mobile game “Words With Friends” that is still popular today, especially when people are socially distant.
Shared Projects - USA Today made a great suggestion of working together on a project, like helping each other update your resumes.  Get your laptops out and share those important documents back and forth until you perfect them.  Upload a document to a Google Drive and you can both edit the document in real time while typing sweet little comments on the screen to each other.  Are you planning on building a deck on the back of the house together when the isolation lifts?  Jump on a free account of Trimble Sketchup and design your deck in 3D making a complete purchase list of all lumber and supplies.  I designed a handicap ramp a few years ago for my mom when she had a stroke.  See that project here: https://bit.ly/TopherDeck
Resurrect the Handwritten Letter – It is still hard to beat an encouraging note from a loved one while you are distant.  Take the time to write those loving words down in a way that they can cherish them for ages to come.  Get creative with some modern poetry or prose and enjoy the timeless tradition of sharing your hearts together.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been married six years, sixteen years, or sixty years, a successful marriage takes effort, especially during stressful times.  Yet we know that you’ll both be blessed physically, mentally, and emotionally if you put the time, energy, and passion into your relationship with the spouse God has gifted you.  Keep loving.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all.” – Hebrews 13:4a
The word “forte” comes from the latin word “fortis” meaning strength.  Our weekly Family Forte article in The Expositor is the effort of family at Central Church of Christ to give your family the love, care, and attention it needs to become a stronger version of itself.  If we can help you in any way, please contact us at Central Church of Christ through email, topherwiles@spartacoc.com, or through our website, www.spartacoc.com.