Last year about this time, my husband and I were eagerly anticipating a weekend away at the Worldwide Marriage Encounter renewal retreat that we’ve attended for the past three years with about 100 other married couples. At the end of February, my mother traveled up from Florida to spend the weekend with the kids, and we drove three hours to the beachside hotel where the retreat is always held. We spent a fun and relaxing weekend, enjoying fellowship with other couples from our marriage group and some much-needed couple time working on our relationship. We returned home feeling refreshed and reconnected—armed with a journal full of our scribbled plans to make a few changes in our busy lives to help us continue strengthening our relationship.

But about two weeks later, the COVID tsunami hit home for us, beginning with the news that our children’s school was closing for an indefinite amount of time. Our lives were turned upside now as we scrambled to balance work and homeschooling two kids amidst the increasing anxiety of the pandemic. Our focus quickly shifted from couple time to family time—all the time.

Needless to say, the plans we had for our marriage fell by the wayside, and much of last year was spent focused on just keeping our family safe. This year, our February marriage retreat at the beach has gone virtual like everything else, and even though our kids are back in school and some things are back to “normal,” we are approaching Valentine’s Day still very much in pandemic mode. Even though reports of a pandemic divorce surge have proven to be unwarranted, and married couples have generally fared better than single individuals, there are no doubt many couples who feel as if they’ve just been getting by over the past year, who could use some ideas on how to bolster their marriage going forward. What better time than National Marriage Week (and Valentine’s Day) to do just that?

Read more here.