When the lockdown started, my husband and I were just four months into our marriage. Needless to say, we were not prepared for the curveball, but who was? Most newly-married couples would be enjoying their honeymoon phase with the usual trips, dates, and new adventures together. We already had our trips booked for this year, until Corona stepped in and said, “You’re not going anywhere!”
They say life always has a way of surprising you. Sometimes they’re good surprises and other times, they’re challenges. Undoubtedly, these times are tough for everyone. And with all the negativity around us, I try to focus on the sunny side of life, instead.
This lockdown has made me realize so many things – from learning new skills to enhancing old ones, getting to know my loved ones better to learning new things about myself. I’m learning that helping out in small ways can create ripple effects with much bigger positive impacts.
As much as this virus has crippled us, has taken away many lives, and has given us endless worries, I believe it also beautifully brought out the best in all of us. My husband and I have spent the past ten weeks together – literally 24/7. Not all newly married couples have this much time together and yes, we get into each other’s nerves a lot! But there are also several things we’ve learned together that we would have been too busy to realize if it hadn’t been for the lockdown. And even if it hasn’t been the ideal honeymoon we planned, we’re coming out of our ten-week lockdown honeymoon stronger as a team – ready to face whatever challenge comes our way, together.
We already had our trips booked for this year, until Corona stepped in and said, “You’re not going anywhere!”
The New Normal
The new normal has forced us to accept that some things will never be the same again. There are things we can’t enjoy as much as we used to. Going to the movies became something you can only do from your computer, grocery shopping now comes in waves, most of the work has even migrated to the digital space! But beyond that, this new normal took us back to the normal we’ve forgotten. The normal where we’re content with what we have, we share what we can no matter how small, and think of others’ health and well-being instead of selfishly just thinking about ourselves.
The Discipline of Following a Routine
On the first few days of lockdown, I spent my time sleeping all day, only waking up to eat and do some chores. My husband, on the other hand, would spend day and night playing video games. A lot of us think we can go about our days doing nothing because of the pandemic. However, it comes to a point when it feels so unhealthy to be unproductive. Sticking to a routine helped keep us healthy, sane, and disciplined.
Ours includes doing chores during the day, taking short naps, spending time together, and respecting each other’s time alone, working out, organizing our home, trying to learn something new every day, and praying together.
The Excitement of Discovering
One of the things that kept me going during the lockdown was looking forward to what I would discover about my husband the next day and he did not disappoint. I saw how dependable he is when it comes to doing chores and grocery shopping, how he can be a big neat freak like me, making sure his closet is always organized, the laundry is done right away, and the condo is vacuumed weekly.
I already knew these before I married him, but the situation gave me a new sense of appreciation for him because aside from all these, I saw how good a provider he is. Because despite not having a steady income for the past ten weeks, he always made sure we had good food on the table, that we had everything we needed, and even a little more.
The Thrill of Learning Something New
You’d think that after thirty-four years of existence, I’d pretty much know what I can and can’t do. It was surprising to learn new things about myself, too. I have never been interested in cooking, but I’ve surprisingly found joy in the kitchen during the lockdown. I found myself waking up early (something I find very hard to do), excited to learn a new recipe. I love reinventing them and have my husband taste it for the first time.
He’s always very encouraging, telling me how good each meal was, even if I knew some dishes were not that great. His support makes me want to learn more and somehow I know this is his way of saying thank you.
The Practice of Self-Control and Discipline
As petty as it sounds, there were days I felt like going crazy because I couldn’t leave our condo. I was used to being around my family and best friends, and it was frustrating for me not to be able to see them.
As frustrated as I was, it also made me proud that we continue to do our part by staying home. We sacrificed time with our loved ones, no matter how much I’ve been itching to finally be with them again. I’ve always believed that big acts start from small ones, and if only we all do our part, we’ll all be one day closer to being with each other again.
The Joy of Giving
Watching the news every day can be heartbreaking. We see stories of people who can’t afford to stay home, have practically nothing, and are begging for help to survive. A few weeks ago, I chanced upon a story about Lolo Jose, a very old man who just cried out of exhaustion and desperation. I knew I could not just let that be another story. So with the help of my family and friends, we were able to share with Lolo Jose. Helping doesn’t have to come in grand gestures, it always starts small. If for every person suffering, there is one blessed person who reaches out to help, then our country would be a much better place.
The Humility to Accept
There are times I am still in denial that life is not the same anymore. Entering married life, I was excited to enjoy at least our first year together just taking trips, splurging, and having lots of fun. But this pandemic has taught me to accept that things don’t always go your way and that’s okay. What matters is how you deal with it – and the first step is always to accept.
The lockdown reminded my husband and me that it’s good to tighten our belts and save for a better future, to prioritize needs over wants, to accept that some things don’t go as planned, and that’s okay.
The Art of Letting Go
Letting go starts with physical things. It starts with finally looking at your closet and giving up the clothes you haven’t used in months. It’s letting go of the urge to give in to every good deal you see while online shopping. It’s letting go of money you want to spend for yourself to help someone else instead.
Eventually, this habit starts going deeper. We learn to let go of things that are unhealthy for you – negative thoughts and emotions that just bring you down. Whether it’s that nice dress just sitting in your closet, or that bad argument you had with your husband, letting go is not easy. It’s a conscious choice and decision you have to make every day.
The Attitude of Gratitude
With all this time to reflect, I’m learning to be grateful for each blessing, big or small. It has taught me to show more gratitude for people who matter most to me. It made me realize that a simple smile and a generous tip can make a difference in a service provider’s life. And most of all, this time has taught me to thank God every day for allowing us to live a comfortable life despite the hard times.
The Faithful Wait To A Better Day
Since the lockdown started, we made it a point to pray with our family daily. So at 8 PM every day, all sixteen of us – one baby, one toddler, four kids, nine adults, led by Mom and our guardian angel Dad, gather through video call and pray. At a time when everything is so uncertain, I go back to what my parents have always instilled in us – that the family that prays together, stays together.
It’s so easy to lose hope, with the sad news we hear, with the frustration we feel towards the government, and the personal struggles we face every day. But this is exactly when our faith is needed most. We have to remind ourselves that God is faithful and that He will give us a cure, a new chance, a better day.
Life does have a way of surprising us every day. So yes, even if this has not been an ideal start of our married life, and far from our ideal honeymoon, the lockdown taught my husband and me to support each other unconditionally. We learned to be each other’s source of strength and encouragement. We learned to be very, very patient with each other, and to love and appreciate each other more.
I guess you can say it has been a good sneak peek to what marriage is really like – not all rainbows and butterflies, but a true test and reminder of the vows we declared just a few months ago, for better or for worse.
And even if it seems like this is never going to end, I continue to be thankful for what it has taught us: To focus on our blessings, not our troubles. To do what we can to help no matter how small, respect how others are coping during this time, be kind, cherish every breath with our loved ones, and have unwavering faith. Trust that God is always in control, and things will get better. One day at a time.
We learn to let go of things that are unhealthy for you – negative thoughts and emotions that just bring you down.