It’s been said, “If your marriage can survive building a house together, then it can survive anything.” This quote came to mind this morning while I was washing dishes in my brand-new, farmhouse-style white kitchen sink (oh yes, the sink of my dreams) in my new home. Okay I thought, we’re here…we’ve survived building a house. We’ve moved in and we are still happy!
Today’s New Normal
But then I also thought of a new quote for married couples today, “If your marriage can survive a global pandemic (i.e. quarantined at home with each other and kids for days on end)…it can survive anything.” Yes, I’m partially joking, but some of you out there are thinking, “I’m not sure we can survive this!” I’m feeling you there.
My husband actually said the words “I’m bored” the other day. Which drove me crazy, looking at my larger than life to-do list since moving into our new house two weeks ago. In the past 16 years that I’ve known him, I’ve never heard those words come out of his mouth. But, he is naturally much more social than I am, so this stay-at-home order is especially difficult for him. On the other hand, I am an introvert who has worked from home for 11 years! Which means we’ve definitely shared a few choice words over the last week trying to figure out how to navigate this new “normal” together.
You Were Made for Resiliency
I know it’s not easy for any married couple–or family unit–right now, but we humans are made to be resilient. Like the other saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I know our country and our community can survive these present-day challenges.
For me, this pandemic is just one of several curveballs I’ve had in my life. For the past year I’ve been recovering from a traumatic event, working on a career change, and managing our large house build project. Resiliency and navigating change is now ingrained in who I am. But, in no way am I bragging. These skills were acquired out of necessity, sometimes from the darkest of places in my mind, but I’m grateful for these lessons.
Five Lessons Learned
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned to help you navigate times of change and uncertainty and build up resiliency:
- Lean into daily gratitude and small goals. Be grateful for the smallest of things like the sun, food to eat in your refrigerator, etc. and write them down. Also, set small goals for yourself (e.g. like organizing your closet, updating your LinkedIn profile, etc.) — this helps build up your courage for larger, long-term goals.
- Lean into self-care (e.g. meditation, exercise, painting your nails, etc.). Self-care has been written about a lot on our blog—check out this article. But you know what it means for you—just one small thing per day makes a huge difference.
- Lean into trusting that there’s a greater purpose that you can’t see. Trust, faith and hope in the unseen means so many different things for people. But mostly, it means that you trust that something positive will come from your current challenge—whether you see it yet or not.
- Lean into loving those around you. These are the times to appreciate your loved ones physically and virtually. Give your husband an extra long hug, snuggle with your child on the couch–and don’t forget to call or have a video call with friends/family not in your household. We’ve personally been FaceTiming with extended family a lot over the past week!
- Lean into searching for the silver linings and lessons learned from your present challenge(s). For me, this was the most difficult lesson and one I’m still learning with today’s pandemic. However, when I was in the hardest times of recovering from trauma I leaned on the fact that I’m now mentally stronger and more resilient than ever before. The trauma also pushed me to make a career change and see my professional worth—which I’m grateful for even in the midst of still trying to find the right job.
Now, these are not lessons you’ll learn overnight. Like anything, building up resiliency takes time and a daily commitment. Just know that you are worth it. You are worth the time and effort. You CAN become a shining star of resiliency in your family and community. And yes, your marriage (and family) will survive this and you will have stories to share for generations to come.