As one of the leaders in our sales organization we approached the pandemic with the mindset that we could either wallow in the misery of the economy or we could take advantage of whatever “silver lining” opportunities we could create. The result has been the largest market share we have ever achieved. That success made me think about our marriage and our approach to the pandemic… actually, our approach to life together in general. While this pandemic has impacted our lives just as much as each of you (killing vacation plans, limiting our active live music life, eliminating in person worship services just to name a few items), there are still a number of positive outcomes or “silver linings” that we’ve been able to enjoy these past 8 months.
We’ve never spent much time walking together. But at the outset of being sheltered in place we started walking our neighborhood together on a regular basis. While we missed our in person Sunday morning worship service we actually found ourselves in a pleasant routine of enjoying breakfast while taking in multiple worship services which allowed us to be fortified each week with a variety of different messages. We discovered the enjoyment and sometimes spontaneity of binge watching shows together. We discovered that we could work together in the same house. We’ve spent more quality time together on the weekends than ever before. We’ve even been able to take a safely executed vacation together observing all CDC protocols. All in all, in spite of the horror of this scary pandemic, the national awakening to social injustice, and all of the divisiveness of the political landscape, we have still been able to experience joy. The brightest spot of this time for us is to witness our oldest son become engaged! I would actually argue that our joy has been heightened during the past 8 months. How is this even possible in the midst of all we’re presently experiencing? Asking myself I reflect on Philippians 4:8 “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (The Message Version)
Make no mistake about it, this has been a challenging time for us. Being forced to work at home when I’ve never enjoyed doing so took some getting used to. Missing the ability to spend quality time with our friends, other couples, church members, co-workers and more has been difficult for an extravert like me. Missing out on many of the concerts that have become a staple of our recent years and especially missing out on the travel that we love so much has been very difficult for my wife. The heightened discussions of the state of social injustice has been disturbing. The contention of the political atmosphere has been smothering. And during this time we’ve lost to close friends including one who has worked tirelessly on the Heart of Marriage Retreat and another most recently to this deadly disease. But all of these things notwithstanding, we continue to cling to Paul’s words in Philippians and fill our minds on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious… The best, not the worst.
Every marriage faces challenges. As you read this you may be reflecting on some of the challenges that you and your spouse face. You might be looking at everything that’s going on in the world and worried about how it’s impacting your marriage. My recommendation to you is in spite of all that’s going on around you and your relationship, ask yourself “what are the silver linings in our present situation?” It’s been said that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to what happens to you. I urge you… I challenge you… find the silver linings. They are there but you must choose to recognize them. And when you do, watch what happens in your marriage!