Healthy Living: Keeping Relationships Healthy
With daily life constantly changing, this may be a stressful time for people. Those changes and added stress can put an unexpected strain on relationships, which is why Erie News Now reached out to marriage counselors for advice on keeping relationships healthy.
For couples now finding themselves spending more time together, it can be easier to get on each other's nerves. Mary Lynn Rote, LPC, CADC, of ABCs of Building Better Lives Counseling Services advised couples to set themselves up for success each day.
"Set a game plan for the day that promotes balance of time together in enjoyable ways and time apart in enjoyable ways," Rote said. She mentioned that could mean discussing what one another can do more or less of to make the other person happier. Also, still set aside time for activities like washing the cars, exercising, playing games or hobbies.
If it's already to a point where a couple is getting easily frustrated, marriage counselor Mark Campbell, LPC, with Millcreek Counseling Associates suggested implemented a keyword. “When you understand your partner is getting annoyed and they hear that keyword, then you know to hold a timeout. Let me step back, I’m annoying my partner and then later on in the day you can discuss it, sort of let it go at that time,” Campbell said.
Both Rote and Campbell also had advice for couples suddenly having to do distance. Rote suggested various activities, "Be creative, use virtual methods of connecting, write a old fashioned love letter and share it virtually, virtual pictionary, reading together, charades, watch Netflix together, prayer time together, virtual yoga or exercise class together, walks together."
Whatever it may be, Campbell agreed keeping communication and having quality time is important. “You have FaceTime, you do have vehicles where you can talk to each other and you know what? It’s worth it in the short term—as long as four weeks is," Campbell said.
For couples in both situations, Campbell and Rote agree people should focus on seeing this time as an opportunity to grow their relationships and make them stronger.
“Keep things in perspective; allow yourself to understand that this is a temporary situation. Make good decisions and keep in touch with those people you love,” Campbell said, “The important thing is just have healthy communication, keep it real, talk and don’t forget to smile. I think that’s a really important thing too.”