What We Can Learn From The Coronavirus Outbreak
As I write this for you, I see picture after picture of empty shelves in my local Walmart. No Clorox wipes, no hand sanitizer, and nearly all cleaning supplies are gone.
There’s no massive cleaning projects that are currently important to take on, it’s a scare of COVID-19, and it’s causing terror in the homes of many.
For most, the supplies are likely more than they will use in years. Many have gone to great extents and paid absorbent costs to obtain antiviral masks for which they may never use. Even musicians have reworked some of their most popular songs to make light of the situation.
I understand the reality of the situation, and that many deaths have been reported worldwide, so please know I am not mocking the terror felt by many. However, in seeing the widespread response and attention many are giving the COVID-19 virus, it has made me wonder why we often fail to give the same attention and response to problems invading our marriages?
There is one virus I see spreading like wildfire in marriages everywhere, and that is the virus of discontentment. Once real-life dirty dishes, different parenting styles, financial disagreements, and disrespectful tone-of-voice enters a marriage, it’s easy to find your marriage infected with desiring something other than what you have. Symptoms begin to show, like thoughts about a friend or coworker who appear to have better marriages than your own, hurtful words are spoken after seeing a picture on social media of a friend receiving flowers from her spouse. You begin to crave your husband to be like theirs, and bitter responses and conditional love soon begin to define your marriage.
Left untreated, discontentment grows until our hearts are in a state of disarray, and we can’t seem to figure out why our marriage feels empty.
Just like the COVID-19, contracting the virus of discontentment is not an absolute guarantee. However, with the current cultural norm being a lack of response and prevention to the deterioration of marriages and families, it is of the utmost importance we do our due diligence to protect our own marriages and families from this common disease.
How can we prepare for the virus of discontentment in our hearts?
- Commit to stop comparing your marriage to others’. In our hearts, we need to recognize that when we see social media posts or hear from friends about their experiences in their marriages, we only see one particular side of a situation. Every husband has his strengths and weaknesses he brings into your marriage. The husband who bought flowers? He struggles to prioritize his family. The perceived perfect marriage? Their marriage might be on the brink of divorce. Resolve to catch yourself when you find yourself comparing, and tell yourself to stop.
- Implement face-to-face time. One of the greatest preparations we can do to help prevent discontentment is to build our team. And one of the ways we can develop our husband and wife team is through exchanging our comfortable and habitual shoulder-to-shoulder time on our devices for even five minutes in conversation. Simply suggest that you put your phones down for a few minutes, sit toward each other on the bed, on the couch, or at the table and catch up on your day. Connect over what matters to you that day. If you’ve felt the desire to connect even more because there’s been a lack of connection, talk about how you can schedule a date with each other. This face-to-face time doesn’t have to be much, but it can make all of the difference.
- Focus on what you appreciate about your husband. When discontentment threatens to arise, choose to focus your thoughts on the positive aspects your husband brings to your marriage. Does he love to work on house projects? Does he tuck your kids in at night? Does he stop what he’s doing to help? Does he stay calm? Does he take his time to process instead of react? Give God thanks for creating your husband with these characteristics, and communicate to your husband how much you appreciate what he brings into your marriage.
- Worship. Something beautiful happens when you have a mindset and heart of adoration and thanks for God.When our thoughts are centered on God, our attitudes change, and our focus moves from our circumstances onto our God. While we typically think of worship being through music, we can truly be worshiping throughout our entire day as our heart and mind is in awe and thanks to God. Do not underestimate the power of worship. It is a powerful weapon against the spread of discontentment.
There is good news, friend. Contentment can be learned. I love what a follower of Jesus noted in the Bible,Paul, says: “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need.” -Philippians 4:12 ESV Notice his choice of words, “I have learned the secret.” Your husband or your marriage may not be what you thought it would be, but you can learn to protect your heart from discontentment and experience joy right where you are.
And friend, there is hope even if the virus of discontentment has already invaded your marriage. It is time to do some cleaning. Get those spiritual Clorox wipes out. Begin today, capturing your thoughts of discontentment and not allowing them to continue to grow in your marriage. Discontentment may not leave overnight, but if you respond toward your marriage like so many are responding to the Coronavirus, in time, the change will occur in your heart.
Wife Step: Choose a preparation suggestion to implement, in order to lessen your chances of being struck with the virus of discontentment in your heart.
Karen lives in Madison, Alabama with her husband and three children. Karen has served as Preschool and Children’s Pastor and has been involved in women’s ministry for many years leading small groups, making hospital visits, organizing retreats, and encouraging the hearts of women. Karen now blogs at Glimpses of Faith and Struggles. What started out as a way to communicate medical facts has become a place where Karen uses life experiences to encourage others in their life journey. When she’s not busy caring for her family or writing, you might find her cooking or crafting.