Is covid over? Yes and no.
A few weeks ago, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy joined the ladies of The View to talk about the emotional toll of covid. As part of the convo, host Sunny Hostin got very real and personal. Her in-laws died of covid, just days apart. Sunny talked about the impact on her spouse, Manny, and his siblings. “They’re not the same people anymore,” she said sadly, adding, “I’m not married to the same man anymore.”
Sunny’s right. And it’s true. She isn’t married to the same man.
Do you know what she means?
Life’s Challenges & Emotional Experiences Change People
Because of covid, there was a massive shift worldwide. There isn’t a person on the planet who wasn’t affected by covid, one way or another. Nobody got away unscathed.
Some people adjusted better than others, but all of us – at one point or another – had a “dark night of the soul” experience. Maybe for you, it was just a moment, but for most of us, it was longer, maybe bigger.
Your Relationship Changes Too
In Sunny Hostin’s life, her in-law’s death was a significant emotional experience that changed her spouse, Manny. When it changed him, it changed the relationship and their marriage.
What was it in your life? Was it the death of a loved one? Was the isolation exceptionally hard, did you lose your job and income, or maybe you discovered problems you didn’t know you had in your marriage or with your kids.
Covid messed with each one of us in different ways. The current universal experience is that most people seem to have a mental gap – like a time warp – as though those two years aren’t even on the timeline of life.
A New Job, A New House, A New Child, Retirement – All Impact Our Marriage
While a pandemic isn’t normal, the fact is that it was one of your significant life experiences. If covid hadn’t happened, something would have. Probably not something universal, but it would have been something, like a job change, a new house, a new baby, a retirement…something.
In my little world, my spouse and I both faced health challenges during covid. I started losing my voice (still undiagnosed). Joseph had a hernia and prostate cancer. For the hernia surgery, I couldn’t go into the hospital. I sat in my car waiting for texts. The prostate surgery was ten months later. It wasn’t quite as restrictive. Still, I found new empathy for those whose loved ones were hospitalized with covid and they couldn’t be together in person, to hold a hand, or give a hug. For me, the one-day stress was awful. For them, it must have been heartbreaking.
Illness & Surgery Were Significant Experiences
For Joseph and me, those experiences shifted a lot of our thinking about the future. It changed us.
Like Sunny, I can say that I’m not married to the same man now. Joseph can say he’s not married to the same woman.
Here’s the thing: The reality is the same for everyone, rich or poor, famous or infamous. Life changes and when it does, it changes you. It changes how you think, how you feel, how you see life. Your opinions and your viewpoints change. When they do, you handle everything differently.
Don’t Ignore This: Changes Affect Your Relationship
RELATIONSHIPS ARE INCLUDED
When life changes you, you are someone different in your relationships. And it’s two-sided: the same way life changes you, it changes the other person. That’s why your one-time BFF from school may not be your BFF now.
If you’re married, when life changes you and changes your spouse, it changes the marriage. The couple you were on your wedding day is different from the couple you are today.
And that’s good! Can you imagine having the same thoughts and feelings at 50 that you had at 20 – about life, love, friendship – or anything? How boring!
Even something as simple as going to the beach changes. At 20, the beach might have represented parties, fun or freedom. At 50, the beach can be a source of peacefulness or nostalgia.
How To Acknowledge and Accept Change in Your Marriage?
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Here’s the problem: when changes happen, few couples ever stop to acknowledge the change. Most couples just plow through, thinking it’ll get better, that things will go back to the way they were. They don’t. They can’t – because one or both of you changed, and that changed the marriage.
The greatest blessing of The Five-Year Marriage® is that it’s designed to give couples the space for a pause to reevaluate, rethink, renegotiate, and
Step by Step Relationship Guides
What changed you in the past five years? How is your thinking different? Is there someone you need to realign with? Now is a good time to take a deep breath and pause. Here are two things that will help you:
The Curiosity Conversation – a guide for “taking stock” and you can do this as a single or couple.
The Five-Year Marriage® Relationship Roadmap – a step-by-step guide for couples that walks you through the entire process of recognizing how you each have changed, how to discuss those changes and understanding what those changes mean for your relationship.
Spring cleaning is about relationships too!
Happy Passover! Happy Easter!
With love and in victory,