May 12, 2020

Love in the Time of Quarantine

Fever. Shortness of breath. Pain. 

These are all universally recognized symptoms of COVID-19. Interestingly enough, these are also emotional markers for many who believe they’re in love. Relationships are hard enough to navigate without the complications of a pandemic. How can we build and improve relationships that honor God in the midst of social distancing?

Recognize that our need for connection comes from God.

“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Gen. 1:26, NKJV).

God is relational. From our beginnings, God existed in community and sought to create us as communal. Admittedly, community for every species in the beginning came in the form of twos with all the hardware needed for multiplication. Knowing this, it’s understandable that people desire relationships. Whether you crave romance, friendship, marriage, family, or other deeper interpersonal connections, your desire for connection is a direct result of God’s design. 

What does this mean in the context of romantic love?

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).*

COVID-19 hasn’t put a damper on our yearning for connection. We were created to glorify God, so it’s a missional function to love others. This includes romantic love. It’s natural to want to learn about others and show appreciation for their intricacies. Premarital relationships now have a unique opportunity to express love in creative ways that perhaps may have otherwise seemed archaine. Receiving a letter, a tangible expression of emotion, has now become an occasion for deep contemplation and admiration. Photographs and videos are now worth more to many than expensive gifts and dinner dates. 

The lifeline now for many relationships aside from phone calls and video chats is text messaging. Couples everywhere rely on this form of communication to stay connected amid the isolation of life circumstances of all kinds. Text messages have become increasingly popular over the years with the evolution of cell-phone technology, but the practice can also be traced back to the Lover of our souls. God’s Word is full of messages that show us what the pursuit of faithful love looks like:

Genesis 2:23, 24 is our first record of human poetry:

“And Adam said:

‘This is now bone of my bones

And flesh of my flesh;

She shall be called Woman,

Because she was taken out of Man.’”

Passionate poetry issues from Solomon’s heart in Song of Solomon 4:9:

“You have ravished my heart,

My sister, my spouse;

You have ravished my heart

With one look of your eyes.”

The confidence expressed in 1 John 4:18 captures attention:

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.”

For the engaged couple whose wedding has been postponed, Ruth 1:16 is a statement of solidarity. This is Christian wedding planning at its finest:

“For wherever you go, I will go. . . . Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.”

So What About SINGLE Singles?

The single person is able to improve themselves just as any spouse or relational partner can, by using this period of quarantine for self-reflection. God’s text messages give insight into many activities in which the single person can engage, activities inspired by Jesus, as was the disciples’ fishing trip in John 21. There Jesus visits the disciples who had been out all night fishing unsuccessfully. He instructs them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. It turns out to be the catch of the day: the disciples return to shore dragging a net full of fish!

For the single who desires connection, identifying and interacting with a variety of fishing activities during this period can be a valuable investment in self-care and lead to greater appreciation for community. 

The Bible indicates that the disciples were not far from land when they made their catch. So here’s a question: from whom have you knowingly or unknowingly socially distanced yourself? Many times our reasons for missed opportunities are more shallow than the water in which the disciples found themselves. Maybe you are not seeking romance or marriage. The beauty of God’s love is that we can find it embedded in the fabric of the most basic human interactions—a smile, a joke, words of encouragement—these are some of the purest manifestations of love. Daily submission to Christ will only make it more likely that you will follow His lead and take a chance by casting your net in the right place.

“And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18).

From Genesis onward, God’s Word is true. So while you cooperate for health’s sake with the rules of isolation, don’t deny your God the satisfaction He wants to give you, especially when He has sent us so many text messages regarding relationships.

If you’ve ever sent someone a time-sensitive text with instructions that they not open it, you can imagine how God must feel watching us delaying, and never opening and reading our love messages from Him. Let’s open the message and follow His blueprint for love in the time of quarantine.

Kryselle Craig, a graduate of Andrews University, is pursuing a doctoral degree in Marriage and Family Therapy Studies through Eastern University in Pennsylvania. She’s passionate about encouraging authentic relationships through the power of Christ.

*All Bible texts are from the New King James Version. Copyright ã 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.