Changed for the better…

Statement of Faith

We believe that God created man and that He created them male and female. As such He created them different so as to complement and complete each other. God instituted monogamous marriage between male and female as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. Therefore, we perform and mentor marriages in accordance with Biblical guidelines. (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; John 4:16-18; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 5:11, 6:9-11. 6:18-20, 7:1-3 and 7:8-9; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-7; 1 Timothy 1:9-11)

Changed for the Better: How to Keep the
Good From COVID Quarantine

Sometimes bad
circumstances bring about future good. And for many families, their lives have
been changed for the better by the quarantine.

By
Sabrina Beasley McDonald

This pandemic has
brought about devastating effects for many families. Job loss, depression,
stress, and 
grieving the loss of
loved ones
 are not minor
issues. But for some families, their lives have been changed for the better.

My sister-in-law
shared how staying home has been a blessing in disguise for her family. They’re
so
over committed with sports, extracurricular activities, and church
obligations, they were relieved to finally have free time. Her family sat down
and ate dinners together. She and her husband sat on the couch and watched a
movie holding hands—for the first time in a long time.

Maybe you’ve
experienced similar revelations—like how long it’s been since you really talked
to your spouse. Maybe you felt a renewed sense of rest. Or maybe the lines of
personal and work time have been blurred for far too long, and you see them
more clearly.

AJ Shankar, CEO and co-founder of Everlaw, predicts this pandemic will have lasting impact on
societal work environments for the better. By normalizing working from home, he
says people will challenge the “always available” mindset. “For employee-friendly
companies, evening hours will ultimately revert to family or personal time, as
they should.” (Read “
All the Things COVID-19
Will Change Forever, According to 30 Top Experts.
”)

Sometimes bad
circumstances bring about future good. The Bible is certainly replete with
examples of how God uses suffering to make life better—for example, the stories
of Job, Joseph, Paul, and Jesus.

And isn’t that the
hope of Romans 8:28? “And we know that for those who love God all things work
together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Changed for the better—making it stick

When I chatted with my
sister-in-law and heard all the ways her home life has been changed for the
better through the coronavirus, I wondered how they’re going to keep these
changes when the “new normal” is over. Will she and her husband be able to say
“no” when the commitments come calling again? Will they know how to protect the
rediscovered family time?

Our conversation
inspired me to identify ways our lives have been changed for the better and
some ideas to, hopefully, help make them stick. Here are five good changes I
think we’d all like to hang on to.

1. We’re no longer over-involved and over-committed.

Maybe you can’t wait
to get back to the ball games and dance recitals. Some families thrive and
connect through these events. But if you find yourself woefully dreading the
day sign-ups begin, it’s probably time for reevaluation.

Remember, it’s OK to
say “no.” You don’t have to be the coach or snack-shack volunteer every season.
Let yourself sit on the bench and cheer! Or if you can’t stand the thought of
missing out, scale back your role. If you’ve coached the swim team multiple
years in a row, let someone else have a turn while you fill a supporting role.

2. We have extra family time.

If you’ve found
yourself longing for this kind of family connection all the time, rest assured
it is possible (even during life as usual). Family memories can happen more
often than the yearly vacation or occasional birthday party.

One way to continue
the pandemic fun is to choose one night a week to have family night. It’s not
important what you do together—serve popcorn and watch a movie, play a game,
make a fire and roast marshmallows. But if family connection is going to make
it into your post-COVID life, it has to be planned. Once it’s on the calendar,
guard it. When someone asks if you can volunteer that night, say, “I’m sorry, I
have plans.”

3. We’ve enjoyed extra connection with our spouses.

Like family time, if
you enjoy more eye contact, physical touch, and your spouse’s company, you have
to be intentional to keep it going. My husband and I have a weekly date night
on Friday. This is actually something the pandemic has taken away from
us, and we can feel the toll it has taken on our relationship.

During normal life
circumstances, couples are prone to have conversations with their heads down,
usually while looking at a phone or computer screen. Television often fills the
room with sights and sounds, replacing human interaction. And community and
church commitments, work schedules, even plans with friends and extended family
all come between couple connection frequently.

If you’ve enjoyed the
change to quieter times of connection, don’t let it get away from you. Put a
regular event on the calendar just for your spouse. Like family time, couple
time won’t magically appear after the quarantine. You have to plan for it if
it’s going to survive the barrage of needs in the coming months.

4. We’ve discovered a sense of contentment.

Much of our time and
money is spent shopping. 
One statistic shows approximately two-thirds
of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) comes from retail consumption
. One of the lessons I’ve learned from
quarantine is I can scratch my itch for “something new” without spending money.
Creativity goes a long way. By making something myself, it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

“Shopping” at home has
also helped. Before I go online to buy, I look around the house to see if I
have a suitable substitute. I have things in closets and hiding in the garage I
didn’t even remember I had!

Learning to live with
what I have has saved us a lot of money. By continuing with this change after
stores reopen, we’ll reap the financial benefits in the long run.

5. The elephant in the room has become unavoidable.

Many couples have
perfected a dance around all the elephants lingering in their homes. It’s a lot
easier to avoid them when everyone is coming and going. But lock everyone in
the same house, and suddenly those elephants start stepping on toes.

Some homes may feel
like they are in the midst of a stampede. 
Even though at times
it may feel like you won’t survive
, addressing those big issues actually gives your relationship
longer life. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it will take some healing. But conflict
resolution and communication are essential skills only learned through trial by
fire.

Going forward, bring
up the hard topics as soon as they appear. Just like cleaning house, a
regularly “cleaned” relationship will be much easier to maintain. Think of this
pandemic as a new starting point from which to move forward.

Changes and lessons learned

These are just a broad
overview of some of the big changes and lessons I’m learning through the
quarantine. Let me encourage you: Evaluate your own life and look for how God
has let your life be changed for the better. Give Him thanks for His provisions
and the insights you’ve received.

Going through the
COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult, but it has much wisdom to offer if we
will learn from it. Proverbs 27:12 says, “The prudent sees danger and hides
himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”

I don’t want to be
foolish and not apply the knowledge I’ve gained about life. Let’s all allow God
to use this situation to make our marriages and families stronger.


Copyright © 2020 by
Sabrina Beasley McDonald. All rights reserved.

Sabrina Beasley
McDonald has been writing about God’s plan for marriage and family for over 19
years. Sabrina holds a Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling from Liberty
University. She is the author of several devotional books, including Write
God In Deeper: Journal Your Way to a Richer Faith.