The #1 thing for couples to do
Healthy relationships were already hard enough.
Creating and maintaining a you-first, quick-to-listen, how-can-I-help relationship took effort and energy like few other things in our lives. For many of us, the daily choice to love our significant other like Jesus loves us was one of the hardest/most beautiful choices we had learned to make.
And then the coronavirus hit.
In just weeks, what already was hard got harder. Couples were squeezed into small spaces, breathing the same air a bit too often. Gone was the high speed internet of the office, replaced by the plodding pace of our homes’ Wi-Fi, which spun in nauseating circles as she Zoomed with her coworkers and he tried to upload a work video to Google Drive. New questions filled our home-sweet-homes: Who gets to use the comfortable chair for their “office”? Who has to be quiet for whose video chats? Which parent has the responsibility to read all the emails about sixth-grade virtual learning? What does sex look like in a world where the kids can’t leave the house (and we fear the germs carried home on the bodies of essential workers)?
I could go on.
If you’re in a relationship, this is a scary new world. There are new questions, new conversations, and new challenges to work through.
Which is exactly why I wrote these devotions. My hope is that the next few days are a spiritual crash course so you and your ________ (fill in their pet name here) will not just survive the coronavirus but thrive in the midst of it.
So here’s my first encouragement—Seek God.
Back in 2003, in the days when corona was just a beer, I stood before the altar with my bride as our pastor painted a simple yet profound picture of a healthy marriage. He said something like, “Imagine a triangle with God at the top and you two down at the lower points. As each of you personally gets closer to God [his fingers followed the angled lines toward the top of his imaginary triangle], guess what happens to you? You get closer to each other. Closeness to him brings closeness for you.”
Brilliant. And experience has taught me that he was so right.
The closer you and I get to God, the more grace transforms our lives. When we seek him in his Word, we find out that our God is loving, gracious, forgiving, kind, patient, holy, humble, good, and glorious. Through quiet times with chapter and verse, we become thrillingly convinced that we are adored by our Father, made pure by our Savior, and filled with his Spirit. Day by day, God becomes enough for us, satisfying our souls and freeing us from the ugly need to get what we want, when we want it.
King David once wrote, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
And that, it turns out, is what makes marriage good. Especially in seasons like this.
We will dig into this idea in the days to come, but for now, let me encourage you with my pastor’s advice and David’s inspired words—Seek God. Delight in him. Meditate on who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. Schedule and prioritize time away from the to-do list in order to move one step closer to your Father’s heart.
I know that your world has been shaken up. Old routines were infected and now lay on life support. You are probably scrambling just to get through the day. But when you seek God first, you find out that your heart already has what it needs. Through faith in Jesus, you need to be saved—and you are. You need to be loved—and you are. You need forgiveness for your sins—and there is. You need there to be a plan—and there is. You need hope that things will work out—and they will. You need supernatural power to check all the boxes that God has on his to-do list for you—and you have it.
That’s why I am so grateful that you are reading these words. It means that, even in the midst of the madness, you care about your connection with God. Keep reading. Keep delighting in his promises.
Jesus once said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Because seeking the God of love leads to love. Love for Jesus. Love for one another.
And that is what we need to thrive.