Maintaining healthy relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic
With more people staying at home, it can be taxing on relationships.
Donna George has been a Licensed Professional Counselor with the Wellspring for 25 years. She says it’s especially important for couples to focus on the positive now when there are so many negatives.
"I don't think I have a session where we're not talking about what's going on in the world,” says George.
She says a lot of the couples she’s seeing now were already in counseling for underlying issues, but she says those issues are becoming more enhanced now that couples don’t have their normal coping methods.
George says with anxiety and fear surrounding your thoughts, you may react to your spouse in a negative way.
She says it’s important to take a break by “walking, riding bikes, just throwing the ball out in the yard, exercising some, so that's always good for you."
Or you could have a date night at home.
"You can't go sit in a restaurant, but you can get in the kitchen, you can cook a meal together, actually there's a lot of chefs on their websites teaching recipes, teaching you how to cook so that's fun and different, you can get dressed up,” says George.
There are a lot of videos online teaching you how to play an instrument and many other activities, so she encourages people to take this time for some good and learn something.
‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman is a resource she goes back to often for couples.
"This is a great time to learn what your love language is, to learn what your spouse's love language is, and to really be intentional about trying to find the positive in your spouse, to speak their love language,” explains George.
At the end of the day, George says having patience and being able to communicate is key.
"Fun, laughing together, praying together, crying together, being able to express your emotions, and of course honesty and respect, all those things are key components to a healthy relationship," says George.
She offers one other piece of advice too, “Tell your spouse something that you appreciated that they did or said today.”
George says if you can continue to focus on the good, you’ll continue to reap the benefits in the future.
"We are growing in an appreciation to value each other more. We're missing the connection, the relationship that we have with other people outside of our home,” says George. "And so I hope that we will all grow to appreciate maybe some of the things that we took for granted in each other."
George says she wants people to know that there are many counselors available at the Wellspring to help if you think you may need to reach out to someone. She says their counselors are certified in telehealth and started using the service before the pandemic to better assist those in rural parishes.