By Dickson Tumuramye
Since the break-out of the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot has totally changed in our lives. Some people lost their jobs, a lot of domestic and gender-based violence was reported in media, children have been out of school for long, some businesses collapsed, and incomes have reduced.
The government is still setting vigorous measures to enforce Covid-19 the Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs); like curfew time, closure of some business places which don’t implement the SOPs, among others.
With the pandemic-related challenges we are experiencing, couples need to work together if they are to effectively manage this uncertainty that may affect the marriage institution.
Some couples could have lost jobs or businesses or got infected with the virus. This is not the time to keep away from each other and feel isolated. Keep in constant talk as a couple.
Discuss together any issue as it arises. Promote open communication in your midst and allow each other to express emotions daily. Find out how your spouse is fairing especially if he/she was grossly affected by this prevailing situation.
Encourage your spouse or children to always open up in case of any challenge. You will be able to tell if there is a problem like depression, anxiety, conflicts in your family.
Communication will resolve any conflict before it escalates into something immense and will solve issues of violence in homes. Keep your communication channels open all the time, everywhere.
The ‘new normal’ has come with its unexpected challenges. Some children are still at home, and as usual they need attention and care. Not to say that they are a burden, but this is the longest they have been out of school.
Nevertheless, parents have to do all it takes in order for their children not to feel the impact of the pandemic.
This has definitely been pressing on the part of parents especially those that already had other marital issues, hence instigating concerns of anxiety, stress and depression.
In case one lost their job as a result of the pandemic, plan how the two of you can create an income or put up a project to revamp your income as a family and also discuss how expenses and family needs will be met.
The Bible tells us to focus our eyes on the Lord as the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
There is no situation that is permanent, and there is nothing new in the eyes of the Lord or under the earth (Eccl. 1:9). Keep your hope alive and settle in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember all things happen for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).
We will overcome one day and emerge as victorious. Having positive energy towards life minimizes risks of suffering from depression in challenges like Covid-19.
It is important that couples share ideas and if possible work together.
African families find it strange to have all family members do house chores together because it is believed most of these are women’s responsibility in a home.
Also when work is done as a family, they should find time and evaluate everything together. Also it is in such times that family members ought to combine finances and all necessary resources to sustain the welfare of their families.
As the saying goes, ‘Work without play made Jack a dull boy.’ Exercising together helps family members bond and also shed stress. Physical activity together helps to foster an environment of teamwork and communication.
Whether you are playing in the backyard or walking together, you are encouraging opportunity to converse and work together.
This is also an opportunity for advice and encouragement to children. It also gives children an opportunity to learn and be taught by their parents.
Not only does this help strengthen family bonds and ties, but it also helps teach the importance of goal setting and accomplishment both as an individual and a team.
Paul challenges us to pray without ceasing (1Thessalonians.5:17) and we know that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16b).
This will help you to confess to one another and seek forgiveness before your spouse and God. It will strengthen your faith in the Lord and your hope will keep live; hope which does not disappoint (Rom.5:5).
Encourage family devotions together, keep the family services with children now that they can’t join the congregation at church.