In her most recent newsletter, my Imago colleague, Carole Kirby, speaks about COVID’s impact on our relationships at home. She reminds us that in challenging times, we need to take the high ride, we need to be our best selves, and look for growth opportunities. We need to be KIND to our partners. She also includes a recent TIME magazine article that offers some great tips regarding what we all need to stay mindful of to protect our marriages. The article references Imago and it’s founders Harvelle Hendrix & Helen LaKelly Hunt, with their simple, yet important reminder to do more listening and less talking during these stressful times.
Here is Carole Kirby’s “Rise to the Occassion with Patience, Heart, & Ingenuity”, along with Belinda Luscombe’s “How to Stay in Love During Quarantine”:
Rise to the Occasion With Patience, Heart, & Ingenuity
Who would have imagined three months ago that we would be quarantined in our homes, apartments, and wherever you live. Life is truly unpredictable, but this pandemic is unlike any our country has faced since the pandemic of 1918 when none of us were alive.
As a nation and as individuals, we have had serious challenges – the civil war, the depression, epidemics – polio, AIDS) other wars, etc. but this is a very new and serious challenge for all of us as well as for our families, our neighborhoods, our economy, and our overall wellbeing individually as well as for your coupleship and your children. It’s a hard time!
In the challenging times we are facing, we need to be our very best self – conscious, considerate, thoughtful, patient, creative, fair, kind, cooperative, grateful, and able to work together while having to “shelter in place.” These are all new challenges for you as an individual, for you as a couple, for you as co-parents, and for all of us collectively.
I put together this newsletter to help you manage all these new challenges. I am “seeing” couples virtually using Zoom and FaceTime. So, if you need some support, we can set up a few virtual sessions to help you through this exceptional time. If you are stretched financially, we can talk about a fee that will work for both of us.
I am grateful to have a way to support you and your relationships.
You will be able to handle the stress together. Remember you aren’t alone even if you aren’t in a relationship. That’s what friends are for.
Be the best mate, friend, citizen that you can be so that you can……
● stay home ● keep social distance ● wear a mask ● work together ● problem solve ● be patient ● exercise ● play ● laugh ● If you drink, do so moderately!!
Relationships Have Challenges even in the Best of Times
Indeed, relationships have challenges in the best of times! I try to help the couples I work with to see these challenges as opportunities for growth and healing.
If these challenges are “worked with”, discussed in such a way that the underlying issues can be discovered, then each partner can learn and grow through the intentional discovery process, even in difficult times.
It takes patience and goodwill. It takes managing one’s reactive response in order to keep each other and the relationship SAFE.
This is the way a relationship helps us evolve into a more mature, emotionally healthy person – partner, lover, parent, friend. A conscious, loving relationship serves us well.
However, during this strange, unpredictable, and scary time when couples are spending more time together or are around each other more than they usually are, misunderstandings, tensions, disappointments, or hurts can flare up. The relationship issues can get magnified.
I am sending this information to help you manage this extraordinary situation. In addition, many of you are working from home and some are working from home as well as parenting and supervising home-schooling for their children. This is a very challenging situation, even if you don’t have children.
With consciousness and care, your relationship & your friendships can be your anchor in this trying time.
In this week’s, TIME magazine, there is a very good article entitled,
How to Stay in Love During Quarantine by Belinda Luscombe
Because the article has such good, relevant advice for this unusual & stressful time, I wanted to share it with you. I am highlighting a few quotes from the article; however, I will include the full article at the end of this newsletter. One of the relationship experts mentioned is my mentor, Harville Hendrix, and another is Helen LaKelly Hunt, Harville’s wife. They co-authored Getting the Love You Want, A Guide for Couples.
John and Julie Gottman are also relationship specialists mentioned in the article. I have, also, studied with them; however, what informs my primary orientation to couples therapy is Imago relationship therapy developed by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt. I have been an Imago therapist and workshop presenter for over 30 years. Here are some highlights from the article in this newsletter.
- Cool it with criticism
- Be more curious than furious
- Buy some time or trade for it
- Make an appointment for hard conversations that might become a blow-up
- Strive to understand your partner’s point of view, not necessarily agreement
- Respect the now invisible boundaries
- Ask for what you want
- If all else fails, try some humor
I think you will be surprised and appreciate Harville Hendrix’s quote highlighted in the article.
“Talking is the most dangerous thing people do, especially when they are stressed.”
I want to close my remarks with…
Strive to be patient, kind, reasonable, and even playful,
in this immensely challenging time. carole kirby