19. FOR BETTER OR WORSE – THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

(The Setting A Good Foundation Series)

Having made it through two weeks of a Stay-at-Home Order implemented by the government of my country to curb and more effectively control the spread of the coronavirus, I found myself today, wishing that I had a husband.

I imagined the wonderful activities we would have been engaged in during the endless time we had on our hands together, like cuddling, laughing with each other, trying our very best (with God’s help and blessing and despite some medical experts dissuading it due to the pandemic), for our love to result in me getting pregnant during this time.

I thought of the board games we could have played together, of how I would have enjoyed cooking him up a storm and serving it in fine style fit for royalty, even making some surprise desserts and just spending quality time attending to my man and chatting with him and of course, spending time in God’s Word together. I imagined that it would have been the perfect opportunity for our hearts to knit closer together.

I knew that we wouldn’t have been bored because I don’t do boring. I believe in bringing the excitement and creativity to wherever I’m at and imagine that my spouse would be this way as well.

We could have even used the opportunity to redesign, completely revamp and redecorate some room or space in our home, painting the walls and loving each other and rearranging furniture, even adding new pieces, to make our home really look beautiful. Yes, I love interior decorating and I have long dreamed of creating a beautifully designed and relaxing space that my spouse would be proud to call home with whatever structure the Lord provides for us to live in, whether big or small.

By nature, God has given me a desire to reach others selflessly with love and for me, I feel a bit left out as I feel like this pandemic would have provided the perfect opportunity for me to dote on my spouse. I have a desire to be loved yes but even stronger is my desire to pour out love on a man that God has approved of, as deserving. For me, I derive greater satisfaction in loving someone, than in being loved, although both are equally important.

Alas, it is not yet my time for love. Nevertheless, my heart ached with the thought that there was a quality man out there, who was single and not getting to benefit from my willingness to love him in this season because we have not yet met.

Yet, God knows best.

Meanwhile, in a distant land, something different appears to be unfolding.

Having battled the Coronavirus for months since December, 2019, things in China (according to media reports) have started to look up with the number of confirmed infected coronavirus cases abating, at least at the community level.

As a result of the pandemic which has been responsible for the taking of many lives to date, officials in China placed the Chinese people under weeks and weeks of lockdown. These measures have relaxed to some extent in recent times however and there is talk that China is eager to get its economy back up and running again.

I just read an Article though, where it claimed that although officials had hoped that the Stay- at-Home measures for the several weeks would have resulted in a boom in pregnancies, what they were finding was that after the lockdown and as people re-emerged, the divorce rate was now spiking.

This is why I have always said and keep saying, that the foundation in a love relationship and eventual marriage is important. It is not just about the bright lights and the lovely Wedding and the guests and the ring and the dress and the steamy time in bed. The foundation needs to be secure if that marriage is to stand the test of time.

Yes spending endless time and days on end with a significant other would have its moments of frustration. Sure there would be rough patches and moments of irritability and even arguments (as that is life and as imperfect humans, that is to be expected). However, when the foundation is strong, as the Bible states, love will cover the multitude of sins. When the foundation is strong, the parties will emerge together despite the difficulties, more in love than before, closer knit and stronger for what they have had to endure.

When the foundation upon which the marriage was founded is weak however, the outcome tends to be totally different. To cite an example, the news Article by Sheridan Prasso on the marital situation in China dated March 31st, 2020 reads:

  • “As the coronavirus raged through China, Ms. Wu, a housewife in her 30s in southern Guangdong province, spent almost two months in isolation with her out-of-work spouse. They fought constantly. Wu, who declined to give her full name because she wants to protect her privacy, ticked off a familiar list of marital irritants, including money (too little), screen time (too much), and housework and child care (not evenly split). One particular annoyance was her husband’s habit of engaging their two children in play in the evening when they were supposed to be going to bed. “He’s the troublemaker in the house,” she says. “I don’t want to endure anymore. We’ve agreed to get a divorce, and the next thing is to find lawyers.”

This true story highlights a fact that I’ve observed for some time now. What we have today are many immature, selfish people entering marriage for the wrong reasons and without any marriage stamina or endurance. They delude themselves into thinking that marriage will always be a bed of roses and comfort themselves in advance, that if storms should arise and they feel overwhelmed, they can always bail with a divorce.

It is so dangerous to choose a marriage partner, who intends to bail if times get rough or too tough or if he is called upon to endure suffering in the marriage.

I remember once hearing a woman who was supposed to know better because she ‘claimed’ to know the Lord, stating on a radio station that, if her husband got very sick or ended up with some kind of disability, she would leave, as she had not signed up for that. Imagine my shock when, some years later, I saw on Facebook, that this woman, had met someone and gotten married. My condolences go out to that spouse.

Marriage is honourable and was intended by God (the one who created it) to be a lifelong, permanent commitment. Whether times are pleasant or times are rough, the beauty of marriage is that it was intended to stay afloat and to make it through any waters.

However, if the foundation that the marriage was built upon from inception was poor, one can expect ugly cracks to show up as time progresses and as soon as there is a little shaking.

When people marry for the wrong reasons, the foundation is flawed from the outset. People marry for many foolish reasons, such as to save face, reputation, avoid criticism, to get back at someone, to benefit from financial security, to benefit from the spouse’s family name and prestigious background, because of the spouse’s good looks, body shape, ability in bed (which they were not even supposed to know about before marriage), to escape their parents, to escape pressure from family, Church members, friends and co-workers about when they are finally going to get married, to fit in with the norm, because other friends are doing it or because they are desperate and feel like the biological clock for remaining desirable and having a child is running out.

Of course, there are many other silly reasons but these are just a few.

For such marriages, the foundation is weak and when the storms come and the winds blow, it ought not to be surprising if such a marriage is unable to weather the storm and ends up being a casualty.

The media Article continued:

  • “Although China publishes nationwide statistics on divorce only annually, media reports from various cities show uncouplings surged in March as husbands and wives began emerging from weeks of government-mandated lockdowns intended to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus…
  • The trend may be an ominous warning for couples in the U.S. and elsewhere who are in the early stages of isolating at home: If absence makes the heart grow fonder, the opposite might be true of too much time spent together in close quarters. The city of Xian, in central China, and Dazhou, in Sichuan province, both reported record-high numbers of divorce filings in early March, leading to long backlogs at government offices. In Hunan province’s Miluo, “staff members didn’t even have time to drink water” because so many couples lined up to file, according to a report in mid-March on the city. Clerks struggled to keep up, processing a record number in a single day, it said.
  • Trivial matters in life led to the escalation of conflicts, and poor communication has caused everyone to be disappointed in marriage and make the decision to divorce,” the city registration center’s director, Yi Xiaoyan, was quoted as saying.
  • Shanghai divorce lawyer Steve Li at Gentle & Trust Law Firm says his caseload has increased 25% since the city’s lockdown eased in mid- March… When the virus hit in late January, on the eve of the festivities, couples in many cities had to endure an additional two months trapped under the same roof, sometimes with extended family. For many it was too much. “The more time they spent together, the more they hate each other,” Li says of his new cases. “People need space. Not just for couples—this applies to everybody.”
  • …In the meantime, Chinese media have been filled with reports of conjugal strife. Shanghai-based online publication Sixth Tone reported that police in one county along the Yangtze River in central Hubei province, near where the pandemic began in Wuhan, received 162 reports of domestic violence in February—three times more than the 47 reported during the same month in 2019. Feng Yuan, co-founder of Equality, a nongovernmental organization in Beijing focused on gender-based violence, says there’s been a rise in requests to her organization for help. “Lockdown brings out latent tendencies for violence that were there before but not coming out,” she wrote in an email…
  • Young people are more likely to divorce than their parents, many of whom still see a stigma attached. “Now one person just says, ‘I don’t like you anymore,’ and they file for divorce the next day,” Li says. Yang Shenli, an attorney at Dingda Law Firm in Shanghai, says his four divorce cases since the lockdown involve couples born after 1985, two sets of which decided to divorce because “quarantine intensified their contradictions.”

This is why I have been stressing that couples should not just run into a marriage but take the time to build the correct foundation. It is why I have been writing Articles on this Page under the ‘Setting A Good Foundation Series’.

Many of these couples were not truly in love in the first place, when they married. Many of them were in lust (which at times can look like the real thing) and storms highlight this. True and genuine love would not have failed as a result of the Coronavirus crisis or any other crisis but gotten stronger.

In speaking of the strength and patience of true love (which is referred to as charity), the Bible states in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

  • Charity SUFFERETH long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is NOT EASILY PROVOKED, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; BEARETH all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, ENDURETH all things.”

JESUS – THE BEST FOUNDATION

The best foundation any couple can set for their marriage first and foremost is to have Jesus at the very centre of it. In fact, he needs to be the very first block that is set in the lives of each of the individuals.

Jesus is the very definition of love. Yet, He can only be at the foundation of your marriage if he is at the foundation of your life and for this to happen, you must first BELIEVE in your heart that he died for your sins and rose again on the third day and after you have believed this truth, you must CONFESS the truth with your mouth, that he is Lord (Romans 10:9-10 KJV).

Indeed, Jesus is Lord over this world, Lord over this Universe (which he created), Lord over you, your spouse and everything, including marriage. If you start something and he is not at the foundation of both of your lives, if he is not at the very centre and the at the very core, I can guarantee you that it will most likely not end well.

Many couples don’t make it together in marriage because Jesus is not their foundation. When he is Lord over the lives of a man and a woman who are submitted to Him and his way, he takes the reign and guides them and gives them wisdom as to how to chart the waters of courtship (dating) honourably and how to have a beautiful, God-glorifying and successful marriage.

He gives valuable insight from his Word, the Bible, which, if couples follow, they will derive important principles on godly living and how to be a good spouse. He gives advice as to whether the person you are interested in is the one you should marry or whether you should run in the next direction. He helps you to see any red flags that may exist up front (if you know him as Lord and Saviour and ask him for help), so that you would not be hoodwinked into marriage with the wrong person.

I remember seeking the Lord’s guidance and wisdom earnestly in 2013 on a particular individual I was very much interested in and liked a lot. That very day, I got an answer. He was NOT the one. It was quite painful at the time to accept because of how shockingly the answer was delivered and I spent at least four days feeling depressed, rejected and crying my eyes out. Yet, I knew then that God knew best despite the pain I felt and today, I feel so blessed not to have gone down that road.

I consider myself to be fortunate to still be available to be swept off my feet by a high quality, sincere gentleman, who God has handpicked for me. After that ordeal in 2013, I resolved to wait on His divine intervention and not to go looking for a spouse for myself.

Although he will come with some flaws, the thought of ending up with a good man that is deserving of my time, effort and love, makes me excited!

The Bible also enables couples to understand the significance of marriage and what God intended when he created it. They realize that marriage is meant to symbolize the sacred covenant relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ (who the Bible refers to as the Bridegroom) and the Church (who the Bible refers to as the Bride).

There is no divorce between the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. This is why He declared in John 10:28:

  • “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

Of the depth of Jesus’ love for the Church which nothing, not even the Coronavirus can separate, Romans 8:35-39 declares:

  • “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I can only hope to one day emulate in some measure, the depth of the love that the Saviour (the Lord Jesus) has for the Church, in my own earthly love relationship. Until then, as I continue to stay at home in compliance with the government’s Order, I continue to dream of a life spent, not just with any man but with a high quality, deserving and appreciative man of God.

Amen? All things are possible through Christ Jesus.

(Written on 14th April, 2020)

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