In Australia, Love and Truth organised an evening to help couples renew their love experienced through confinement.
“Last week we passed 100 days of Stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne, with among the most oppressive draconian restrictions imposed by our State Government. This has meant effective “house arrest” for 22 hours per day, 8pm curfews, schooling and business closures, one (later two) hours permission for exercise, a 5km limit on travel, no visiting and so on. Families have found it very difficult to operate in these circumstances, with limited release valves available to them. Tensions have at times run high!
It is no surprise, then, that we had 70 couples register and attend our “Loving in Lockdown” online Zoom event for married couples on Saturday 22 August as part of the Emmanuel Community’s “Love and Truth” program. There was a huge desire expressed by these couples, many of which came from beyond the Emmanuel Community, to find ways of better loving their spouse in these difficult conditions.
The evening was billed as “A date night in the lounge” and we invited the couples to ensure (where possible) that they were able to create time and space for them to be alone for the whole evening, and that the online event was to provide an extended introduction to their couple time. We asked them to prepare by creating a nice environment, having some snacks or chocolates present, opening a bottle of wine or making a cup of tea, or whatever they like to enjoy together.
The format enabled the couples to briefly meet a few others in breakout groups, after the introduction and prayer, and to share “the joys and challenges of the lockdown.” This was followed by a thirty minute presentation by one couple of the community, highlighting three basic points:
1) Putting Jesus in the centre of my marriage
2) Developing a positive view of my spouse
3) Creating couple time.
These were illustrated by testimonies. Couples were then invited, as they spent the remainder of the evening together, to begin their time with a sharing based on three simple questions:
- What shall we KEEP doing?
- What shall we STOP doing?
- What shall we START doing, as a couple?
Some feedback that was received by one couple present stated: “Thanks so much for your beautiful talk last night. I was very moved and inspired. We enjoyed some of the best couple time we’ve had in a long time thanks to your witness and the evening as a whole. The Holy Spirit was really moving with the amazing turnout! It gave me a lot of hope to see so many faithful married couples making the time to attend – I think that God is very much still at work during these difficult times and it was a real encouragement to ongoing mission in new and creative ways.”
The young wife of another one of the couples who attended is the secretary at a nearby parish, and she spoke of it with her Parish priest. One of the fruits of this mission was that we were invited to run the same event two weeks later in that parish, which we did for ten couples.
New COVID-19 cases are now very low in Melbourne, but we remain in Stage 4 lockdown for the moment. Our next “loving in Lockdown” online Zoom “Love and Truth” night will take place on 14 November. Praise to God!”