My husband and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary last week, another special occasion we have marked whilst social distancing from family and friends. The youngest of our four children was with us for the first few weeks of lockdown but is now working on the frontline in London, and since then it has been just the two of us at home.
We both have busy jobs and my role at Care for the Family means that before the pandemic I was often away from home, on the road with our events. As a couple (and after a few false starts) we’ve become fairly adept at managing time apart, so being catapulted together 24/7 has meant that we’ve had to learn to adjust our step. I reflected yesterday that we probably haven’t had this amount of focused time together, just the two of us, since our honeymoon and the earliest days of our relationship.
Enforced time together can have the effect of holding a magnifying glass to both the good and the challenging aspects of a marriage. Small irritations, thoughtless acts and differences of opinion, as well as moments of laughter and acts of consideration and kindness, are thrown into sharp relief, having more impact and taking on more significance. We are discovering new things about each other and building new rhythms of life just as we did in the early days of our marriage (although, with thirty-five years behind us, I guess we are better at it – we’ve had more practice).
For all couples, our marriages are a work in progress as we navigate the different seasons of life, each of which brings its own challenges and opportunities. Whatever the history of our relationship, the first season of marriage is when husband and wife set out to forge a new identity together. It’s a time for discoveries – some a delight and some less so – and many couples are finding themselves having to do this in the context of lockdown and all that entails.