Lessons in love, advice from a military family clinic for everyone during these trying times

Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 9:13 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Relationships can be difficult in the best of circumstances, for our military men and women you add on the challenge of deployments, moving, and everything else that’s related to the task of keeping the nation safe. Due to those added difficulties, it’s occasionally helpful to seek professional help but as the ongoing pandemic continues that may be true for many non-military families as well.

As MaryBeth Goodman, clinic director at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Alaska Behavioral Health explains, the stressors that have been brought on by the pandemic have changed some of the issues facing couples and families.

“I think relationship counseling is beneficial for everyone. But what we’re seeing a lot of right now in this time of pandemic is individuals who have spent more time together in a close situation than ever before,” says Goodman, “and so what we used to say is you need to find more time together, and now we’re actually encouraging people to find some independent time within their home system to really be able to be them selves and not be shy about asking.”

MaryBeth Goodman, who along with her position as Clinic Director, is also the wife of a veteran with 25 years of marriage under her belt, compiled some “Lessons in Love” from military couples that can be used to bolster any relationship. That list includes things like:

-Communicate your needs

-Listen to understand

-Make your love obvious

-Get in the team spirit

-Ask are we stuck?

Goodman even added a nugget of wisdom from her grandmother. “She told me every day show love in its true form, every day is Valentine’s Day, every day is a birthday, every day is the day you celebrate the birth of your child, do not put these unrealistic expectations on a relationship, that has some rocks, is all of a sudden going to be smooth sailing just because it’s February 14. We need to put the work into relationships every day, we need to cherish the joy of being with another person, ups and downs, and yes have celebrations but don’t get caught up on the actual day.”

Another thing Clinic Director Goodman pointed out was that February and March can be tough emotionally and mentally here in Alaska for both couples and individuals. If that becomes the case, reaching out and speaking with a counselor can make all the difference.

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