Home should be the safe place where families can stay put during the COVID-19 pandemic. For many married couples, this means spending much more time together while avoiding contact with others to remain as healthy as possible. In other cases, however, a spouse may actually have contracted the virus and must stay at home with the other spouse to recover.
If your spouse is ill with the coronavirus, Christian Psychiatrist Dr. Karl Benzio, Medical Director at Honey Lake Clinic in Greenville, Florida, notes there are many ways you can help them. He suggests that you do your best to provide them with “service and communication, bringing hope, perspective and helping keep a positive, thankful, grateful and conqueror attitude.”
Here are some practical suggestions to love your spouse if he or she has, or has symptoms of, the coronavirus.
Offer spiritual encouragement
One way to alleviate any fear or panic in the atmosphere of your home is to read Scripture aloud. If you already incorporate this into your daily routine, perhaps consider adding another time in the day. Hebrews 4:12 states that the Word of God is “living and active.” When you declare truth over your spouse, you’re not saying mere words — you’re letting the power of God bless your husband or wife through you.
While making sure we have enough food and cleaning supplies stocked is an important priority, our ultimate hope and focus should be placed in the One who provided all of those things in the first place. Psalm 18:2 is one of many verses that declares the refuge we have in the Lord: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Proverbs 16:24 describes gracious words as a honeycomb, “sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” When you speak words of life to your spouse, you are refreshing their mind and body without even knowing. If your spouse is ill, maybe use this time to encourage them and tell them all the characteristics you love about them.
Take their load
If your spouse has the coronavirus, now would be a prime time to serve them in love. This may look like taking on their normal household cleaning duties or cooking meals they would usually make themselves. As children are home from closed schools, there may be a higher demand to care for their needs and attention. If your spouse is ill with the virus, this may mean taking responsibility of caring for the kids.
Take care of yourself
Make sure throughout this time that you also prioritize caring for your own health. The last thing you need is to become sick as well. While our knowledge of the coronavirus is constantly evolving, Dr. Daniel Hinthorn, division director of Infectious Diseases at the University of Kansas Medical Center, notes that it’s probably not just exposure to an infected person that will determine whether someone will become infected themselves. One factor that may influence whether a person develops COVID-19 is the overall amount of viral particles that a person encounters. He suggests that you avoid close contact with your spouse, should he or she be ill:
Repeated contacts or very close contact and exposure is more likely to result in transmitting higher loads of the virus so that the spouse also may have an increased risk of developing the illness.
With that in mind, remember that so many other options are in front of you to love your spouse. Dr. Benzio reminds us that “physical isolation doesn’t mean relational, emotional, spiritual or psychological isolation.”