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When Your “Honeymoon Phase” Is A Pandemic

Brooke Stempert
Feb 4, 2021

My now-husband proposed just two weeks before lockdown. It’s been about a year since then, but it feels like a lifetime ago. Throughout our pandemic wedding planning, we made changes to our plans over and over and over again. Ultimately, though, our backup-to-the-backup-wedding ended up much better than I could have planned in the first place. While we may not have realized it at the time, planning and re-planning our wedding was just a teaser for what lay ahead. In reality, we would face much bigger challenges becoming newlyweds.


It’s been about six months since our wedding day, and my husband, Brendan, and I quickly went from the excitement of our wedding and the honeymoon to a new hustle and bustle. We moved my husband out of the place he’s called home for 27 years. I added on the responsibility of becoming a dog mom to his adorable Welsh Corgi, Millie. Then, we tackled learning how to live normal lives together (during a pandemic!) through the busy Fall and cold Winter months.


I never expected to do so many chores! After all, I lived alone and was used to doing all the chores myself, so splitting them sounded like a dream. However, I quickly learned two people and a dog make a lot more mess than one single girl living alone. I also realized Brendan has perfectionist tendencies, and I do not. My more laid-back nature can drive him bonkers. For example, I don’t always follow directions to a tee, which is especially relevant when I’m cooking. One day, he bought me my first Lego set, a Lego Olaf from the Disney movie Frozen, to teach me how to better follow directions. While a cute gesture at first, I could see right through his motives. If I were to successfully put the Lego Olaf together, I’d have to follow the directions step by step. Boring!

Turning our quantity time into quality time also proved challenging. Even though we spend every night together, it’s not always the refreshing relational boost we felt traveling back and forth to each other's houses when we were dating. Before, it was date nights out and adventures. Now, it’s easiest to just turn to video games and Netflix. In the extreme normalcy of daily life, it became difficult to make intentional date time unless we truly fight for it.


Despite some of the challenges we face, one thing remains constant as our relationship changes and grows: Our hope in God. Looking back on our engagement, one of my favorite parts was meeting over Zoom with our Liquid Church Marriage Mentors. With their help, we tackled challenging (and sometimes awkward) questions to help us develop a firm faith foundation. This investment equipped us to keep Christ at the center of our changing relationship by teaching us things like prioritizing daily prayer together and helping us see each others’ perspectives so we can more quickly give each other grace. These lessons have been some of the biggest blessings in our marriage today.

We also lead a Small Group at Liquid, and while currently virtual, this community of twenty and thirty somethings has been a huge blessing to the start of our marriage. We have other young Christian couples in the group who speak wisdom in our lives by sharing the ways God grew them in their newlywed days. Our community bears each other's burdens and encourages us through the good days and the bad, reminding us we can be grateful in the midst of a lot of new normalcy, too.


While this year hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies, God has been so good to both of us. As Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” I’m grateful for the ways God prepared Brendan and I for where we are now, and that He’s really just getting started writing our story together. With resources like community, prayer, and His guiding word, we don’t need to fear the challenges we face. Instead, we can walk confidently into the future knowing our God is with us and will see us through it all.


We love learning from the relationship goals people within our church are setting! To continue reading on for more inspiration, check out the articles below:

  • ARTICLE: Marriage & Parenting: Gillian & Jason’s Story - Click here to read how God has worked in Gillian and Jason Schuler’s relationship and family over the years.
  • ARTICLE: Couplehood: Danny & Casey’s Story - Read how then-engaged couple Danny McQuaide and Casey Sutherland met and what God did to make their long-distance relationship stronger.
  • ARTICLE: Waiting For A Relationship In An On Demand World - College student Alex Soares shares what God has taught him about singleness and dating on his journey so far. Click here for another personal reflection.