COVID-19 and all the shelter-at-home ordinances and cancelled events and lay-offs has led to many people spending a lot of extra time at home…with–one would hope–loved ones. But for many, the increased time with family members didn’t lead to deeper relationships but to divorce. During COVID, divorce rates increased 34%. Sadly, many people just couldn’t stand actually living with someone they’d been distracting themselves from for too long. Maybe depression set in. We know those rates increased too (along with the tragic rise in suicide). Maybe pornography viewing increased. We know that domestic abuse sure did. Some research says an increase of dangerous home life concerns have soared 300%.
Sometimes people, when faced with the depravity of their humanity, just implode. They don’t listen to the still small Voice. They don’t listen to their spouse. They justify. They excuse. They abuse. They walk away saying they deserve better than selflessly loving another who doesn’t give them what they want.
Now, I don’t know what the divorce rate looked like specifically with those who claim Christ as their Lord. However, this alarming deterioration of marriage and the nuclear family begs the question of all of us. Are we healthy at home? Because we can put on all the masks and tasks in the world to hide reality, but I guarantee you, your spouse knows the real you. And so do your kids. And they are your first line of truth, ministry, and sacrifice.
“If your faith isn’t working at home, don’t try to export it.” Kent Williams
Are we giving them what they need? Are we taking the time to invest in eternal treasures? Are we nurturing our souls and loving well those placed in our care?
Under stress, or even just a tight workload, I have a tendency to hole up and need very little interaction. I can forget my husband’s love languages and just go into robot mode (taking care of laundry, meals, grading, the kids, etc.) and forget that I am in relationships with real-live people who need me. This list above from Club 31 Women reminds us of healthy relationships (especially when life may feel tense) and how to hold onto the good.
10 Marks of a healthy relationship:
1. Mutual respect (Does it go both ways?)
2. Empathy (Does the person show compassion or an entitled self-absorption?)
3. Self-Awareness and quick to forgive (Does the person know their own faults and own up to them or do they just point a finger?)
4. Trust (Are your vulnerabilities safe with the other person?)
5. Desire to listen and understand (Can you disagree without feeling threatened?)
6. Sense of Humor (Can you laugh together or is the relationship always serious?)
7. Give and Take (Does one person do all the taking and the other all the giving?)
8. Honesty (Can you speak and receive the truth from this person? Is there a healthy accountability?)
9. Team Mindset (Do you partner with this person to tackle issues or see them as the enemy?)
10. Spiritual Cohesion (Can you connect on a soul level established in something bigger than both of you?)
[Now go through the list again and ask yourself if you are: empathetic, trustworthy, honest, giving, etc.]
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Cor. 13:4-7, ESV