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He Says: I Think We Should Take the Chance and Visit Our Grandchildren

She says: I'm not really willing to take a chance on COVID-19 to do it.

Is it worth risking death to visit your grandchildren? Look at it this way: every time you drive your car, you risk losing your life. Likewise with riding a motorcycle, sky-diving or swimming with sharks. The questions to ask before engaging in such activities are: What are the actual risks, how willing am I to take them on and, most importantly, how willing are we as a couple to take them on?

To determine the actual risks of visiting your grandchildren, the best place to start is your respective physicians. They will probably understand better not only the risks and related safety measures of the virus in general but also your own particular vulnerabilities.

Next, let’s assume there is indeed some added risk that, by visiting your grandchildren, one or both of you will contract the virus. Let’s also assume that one of you is comfortable with that added risk and the other is not. And so you ask: How willing are we as a couple to take on that risk?

Dave, if this was only about you and your life, then go for it. But you are not just an “I,” you are also part of a “we.” You and Sue are joined in a “one flesh” (Mt 19:5-6) union, which means your life also belongs to her. This likewise means that if there is some rational basis (i.e., it’s not just reflexive timidity) for her fears over you losing your life, and perhaps taking hers as well, then you must honor and adjust to them.

However, Sue, just as Dave must be willing to adjust to your fearfulness, so must you be willing to adjust to his fearlessness. If there is some rational basis (i.e., it’s not just foolhardiness) supporting his willingness to go, then you, too, must consider this decision not just as an “I” but also as a “we.”

Look for a reasonable compromise that would call Sue to take on a bit more risk and Dave a bit less. For example, maybe both of you make the visit, but you wear masks and social distance the entire time. Or maybe Dave goes alone, but agrees not only to these same safety measures, but also to self-quarantine upon his return.