An Impromptu Water Balloon Fight Helped Revive My Marriage During COVID-19

Lauren Manaker
Beautiful young couple playing tug of war with sprinkler hose

My relationship with my husband has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic led to schools and businesses closing. Under normal circumstances, my husband and I seem to find ways to connect, laugh, and kick back between parenting, working, and maintaining the household. We know it's important to find snippets of time to have a conversation or watch a funny TV show together.

Since we are now homeschooling and both of our businesses have become more stressful due to the current climate, we've been stretched very thin. We've been prioritizing our daughter's mental health and our businesses' survival over our relationship, without even realizing it. Of course we still love each other, but since we have entered our new normal, the laughter and fun bits in our marriage went away. Not because we don't care about each other anymore - but because we have both been under an immense amount of pressure and don't have any energy left over at the end of the day for each other. It is not a great environment for a marriage to flourish. We have been surviving but not thriving. And I really missed laughing with my husband.

That is, until one impulse purchase changed the course of our relationship. Trying to find activities to get my daughter outdoors and active, I clicked "purchase now" and found myself with a whole bag of self-sealing water balloons. They seemed easy to fill, and I knew my daughter would love them, so I figured they were worth a shot. When the package arrived, I took them outside with my daughter to get started.

Related: Parenting During Self-Isolation Means I Haven't Seen My Husband in Weeks, and I Hate It

The timing was perfect: just as the balloons were ready to be used, my husband's car pulled up into the driveway. Without a second to stop her, my daughter ambushed my husband and nailed him with five water balloons in a row just as he was opening his car door. Soaked from head to toe and still in his work clothes, he immediately ran after her and snagged her stash of remaining balloons. But instead of paying her back with a splash, he went after me! My daughter just stood there watching her two grown parents pelting each other with water balloons and laughing so hard that their bellies hurt.

Just when my husband thought that he won the war, I pulled out the big guns - literally. I told him that I was going to go inside our house to grab some towels and instead emerged with a fully loaded water blaster. Round two, buddy!

It felt so good to laugh and be silly with my husband - something that I have not been able to do in weeks. It was nice to just let go and have fun instead of freaking out about wet clothes and mud being tracked in the house. Who would have thought that an under $15 online purchase would be the catalyst for my husband and I to find our connection?

Since that water balloon fight, I noticed a shift in the way we interact with each other. We have both slowed down a bit and have tried to carve out some fun time that we can enjoy as a family. If we are in the middle of something and an opportunity arises for us to spend some time together doing something goofy, we will jump on it. Our wild water balloon fight showed us that those tiny moments can make a huge difference. And even though we are self-isolating as a family and times are stressful, that doesn't mean that we can find some joy and laughter every so often.