How is your marriage doing at the moment? Maybe not something that has been fully on your mind given the state of the world, but things are about to get real…
38 hours to go, give or take, until Lockdown is a reality for South Africa.
Hope you have your beans. No, i take that back, hoarding cans of baked beans is A TERRIBLE IDEA during these stuck-in-confined-spaces times.
People with children and animals seem that little bit more nervous. People like me with a shelf full of board games, mostly suited to three or more players just look at them wistfully and let out a deep sigh every few hours. But fairly soon, we are all going to be living in some kind of somewhat-shared reality.
So i have been wondering what can i do? Have been able to do a couple of shops for parents and parents in law [and by a couple i mean one!] this week so less people had to leave the house. But once we are stuck indoors, where can i be helpful?
Val, on the other hand, has been flying into action [as she does] – joining the local CAN [Community Action Network] group of people in the community where we live joining forces to try and do the best we can to help everyone in our proximity get through this well. She has been on calls and rallying troops and planning things and if you live in the Plumstead area i think you are in good hands. If you are on Facebook and live in Cape Town then i highly encourage you to join Cape Town Together which is an amazing hub of resources and inspiration and find out how you can get connected or involved with your local CAN.
i have been trying to network and gather resources as i do, in the hope that they will be helpful, at least collected together in one place. From ideas for everyone in terms of being creative and maximising this time, to a HUGE and EXTENSIVE list of activities, links and ideas for Parents with children looking to keep them entertained and busy during this time, to a follow-up post packed with EVEN MORE Ideas for Parents of children. [Seriously, if this thing lasts six months you will likely not yet have worked through those two posts – check them out!]
But beyond that, i have been asking myself what can i do during the thing?
Something for the marriages.
In the past few weeks i have heard of a number of marriages that are really struggling. Have been able to recommend our most excellent marriage counsellor to one of the couples and am hopefully going to be able to connect with the others in other ways during this thing.
But one thing i strongly suspect and that is that if your marriage is struggling a bit, enforced time together with just yourselves may not be the best remedy. Unless of course you make the most of that time to find ways or reconnecting and working through things. But a lot of proximity often just brings up the smallest things and makes them a fuse that will eventually lead to the bigger things going off in some way.
i am not a trained counsellor, although i have done some counsellor training [a fairly good amount of it actually and even have a certificate for part of it somewhere] and i have done a lot of counsellor-type listening and conversating during my youth-work and pastoral days.
i can be a good listener though. And i do have a shoulder. Well, two actually. And so what i am wanting to offer during these times of lockdown, is to be a space for men who are finding marriage tough/challenging/tricky/impossible to connect with me at the very least as someone who can just listen and be a safe space for you to talk to [with the same kind of client/patient confidentiality you would find in an actual counselling situation].
My sister-in-law Shana Kreusch has offered to do the same for women who might be struggling or need a shoulder or ear.
Best way to start a connection is probably via email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re a dude and Shanaduffield@gmail.com if you are a woman. Make contact, share as much as you want to, and let’s see how it goes from there.
Just to clarify, we are not offering any sort of professional counselling. Just a space for men and women who are struggling in their marriages to put their hand up and say “It is me” and share a little bit of their story.
If you are a guy who is married and things feel a little confusing or hard or even just some aspects of it might feel like that, feel free to drop me a line and you can share your story and i can listen and we can see if any inspiration or help can follow from there.
i don’t know if this is needed or even wanted, but it feels like something we have some capacity to do. We want to be on the sidelines cheering on your marriage!
If you know someone who this might feel helpful for, please free to tag them. And let’s all be thinking about what skills or opportunities we might be able to offer to others during this time.
But also this is something you can do for your friends – if you know of people who are struggling and you can be an ear or a shoulder, let them know. Maybe it as easy as putting out a statements saying, “If any of my friends are struggling with fear or anxiety with regards to the lockdown, please drop me a line and let me know.” It is not so much about expertise right now as presence. And availability.