A Reflection for “Not-Yet-Married” Couples in This Time of Isolation

For Christian singles who are in relationships at this strange time in history, but who are still trying to honor God by living in separate locales, the coronavirus feels like a curse. You want to be close to the one your soul loves. Still, you feel like it’s not fair. You’re trying to honor God, and now you’re being punished for it because non-Christians can live with their significant others and not feel so alone in this time.

I understand your pain. I do. It’s hard. It’s rough. Psalm 73 comes to mind.

God is indeed good to Israel
to the pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet almost slipped;
my steps nearly went astray.
For I envied the arrogant;
I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

They are not in trouble like others;
they are not afflicted like most people.

Did I purify my heart
and wash my hands for nothing?
For I am afflicted all day long
and punished every morning.

Asaph, Psalm 73:1-3, 5, 13-14

The psalmists are sincere individuals. They speak to God from their heart. They don’t hold back. They don’t act more righteous than they are. They don’t tell God what they think He wants to hear.

It’s okay to feel like you are Asaph right now. It’s okay to admit that you envy the wicked, those shacking up in this time of isolation.

Loneliness sucks, and maybe—like me—you just found the person who you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. And now you can’t see them in-person as much as you would like (if you can see them at all).

But if you pray like Asaph, then you need to pray like Asaph. His psalm doesn’t end in verse 14.

When I became embittered
and my innermost being was wounded,
I was stupid and didn’t understand;
I was an unthinking animal toward You.
Yet I am always with You;
You hold my right hand.
You guide me with Your counsel,
and afterward You will take me up in glory.
Who do I have in heaven but You?
And I desire nothing on earth but You.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart,
my portion forever.
Those far from You will certainly perish;
You destroy all who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, God’s presence is my good.
I have made the Lord [Yahweh] my refuge,
so I can tell about all You do.

Asaph, Psalm 73:21-28

Asaph was led to realize through the course of his prayer that the wicked won’t last. Even though they seem to prosper in this life, they won’t survive. He remembered that as long as he has God on his side, he can be happy. His complaints and disgruntled attitude were foolish; he refers to the start of his prayer as being no more intelligent than the grunts of a wild animal.

May we turn our focus to God in this time of increased loneliness. May we seek Him and plead with Him that He be our focus. May we ask Him that He not let us excuse sin in this time of confusion. God is good; He will not forsake us.

But with that said, we must love God, and He must be our top priority. However, technology does exist, so let me share a few ways you can still enjoy your significant other in this time of forced separation—and maybe even grow closer as a result. (I am assuming video chat capability for most of the following activities.)

Read the Bible together

My girlfriend and i have been reading the gospel of John for the past few months. We don’t spend as much time in it as we should, but we’ve been enjoying the time we have spent in it together. Prayer is our speaking to God (see next heading), and Scripture is how God speaks to us. We want to hear from God, especially in this confusing time.

You don’t have to exegete the Scripture you read together. You don’t have to perfectly understand everything you read together. But you should read it together. Especially if you are a man, you are called to lead your woman through the Word of God (cf. Ephesians 5:25-28). This is a necessary activity all the time, how much more so in this time of uncertainty?

So let’s read Scripture together!

Pray together

My girlfriend and i have been praying together since close to the time we became official. I’ve had many relationships in my 28 years, and i decided that with this one, i wanted to make prayer a priority. Prayer that we would always honor God in our behavior together. Prayer that God would knit our hearts closer together. And prayer that we would trust God through whatever comes our way. We can’t stop praying these things now that we can’t see each other in person.

You don’t have to be an expert on prayer to pray together. This is what Christians have done since day one (cf. Acts 1:14). And men have prayed for the women in their lives since before Israel existed (cf. Genesis 25:21). And in a time of uncertainty like we are in right now, we can’t pray enough.

So let’s pray together!

Have a serious conversation

I discover almost daily that my girlfriend and i have more in common than i thought we did. Personally, i feel like my conversation skills are lacking (though i think she would disagree). I have decided that forced separation is an opportunity for me to focus time on conversation skills with her instead of only my feelings toward her.

You don’t have to bare all your darkest secrets. Still, it’s so easy to lose actual verbal conversation when kissing and hugging and cuddling get added into the mix. This is why relationships built purely on the physical don’t last. When physical disappears, so does the relationship. Use this time of isolation as a time to build up the mental and intellectual side of your relationship so that when you come out of isolation your relationship has a firmer foundation.

So let’s have conversations together!

Write a story together

My girlfriend and i decided to open up a Google Doc together and play the game where you write a sentence, and then the next person writes a sentence. There is a raccoon named Joe, who was jilted by country singer Joe Nichols, and we’re still waiting to find out how it ends.

You don’t have to write a joke story, but maybe brainstorming a possible story (or even a series of novels) would be a way to grow your relationship in this time when we can’t go out as much as we would like.

Read something together

My girlfriend and i have been reading a Shakespeare play together. The Merry Wives of Windsor is a comedy, and we have both enjoyed learning new words, trying to guess what is going to happen, and laughing at the ridiculousness of the characters’ ploys.

You don’t have to read Shakespeare, but maybe finding something fun that both of you own and both of you might enjoy would be a way to grow your relationship in this time when we can’t go out as much as we would like.

In conclusion, let’s look at this time as a blessing in disguise. Let’s not languish in moping and complaining about how bad we have it, or how unfair it is that the world can cohabitate and we can’t even hardly hug our significant others. Let’s fight to primarily grow closer to God in this time and secondarily grow closer to our significant others as well, though in new and creative ways. Let’s put sin to death, fight for increased holiness, and seek God’s face daily.

If we do these things, our future marriages will be stronger and sturdier as a result.

In this with you.

Soli Deo Gloria
Solus Christus
Sola Fide

Thanks for reading.

Comment below if you have found any other creative ways to spend time with your significant other in this time of isolation.

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