Heed this advice from seasoned couples counselor Cheri Timko of Fairmont.
Life as you know it has turned upside down. Roles are shifting. Fear, anxiety, and financial uncertainty prevail. In the best of times, any one of these issues could send a relationship into a tailspin. And in times like these plenty of couples are wondering if their relationships will survive.
This is a time to show each other compassion and grace, says Cheri Timko, who has counseled couples for more than 25 years. If you’re feeling less than optimistic about your relationship, it’s possible those feelings will pass. Timko cautions couples to avoid making any permanent decisions during this time, no matter how certain they feel. She suggests contacting a trained couples counselor, many of whom are offering tele-appointments, as soon as you can. Little changes can be transformative and have a lasting impact on a relationship.
Less rushing around day-to-day means more time to talk with one another, and the current stay-at-home order could usher in an opportunity to make your relationship better. “Being together gives couples a renewed opportunity to talk about the events in the world and how they are interpreting them,” Timko says.
“Being open to these conversations is a rare opportunity to really know your partner and might make the whole experience of being at home easier. It is vital that you each are supportive of one another to open up these deeper conversations.”
For couples who are struggling right now, talk gently with your spouse about problems, and remember to take time for yourself. Get some fresh air and exercise, talk with someone else who understands, and remind yourself that everything is OK. Consider taking a break from social media and the news, and practice meditation or pray. “We manage and process our feelings by actively engaging in activities that make us feel healthier and stronger,” Timko says.
Remember that understanding another person’s perspective does not mean that you have to agree with them, and that it’s important for couples to balance their need to be together with their need to be apart. “And don’t underestimate the camaraderie of complaining together. For some couples, this is an opportunity to feel closer. Couples need to safeguard their relationship as though it is the most precious and valuable thing in their life,” Timko says.
posted on April 24, 2020
image courtesy of Kelly Sikkema