The Diocese of Des Moines
Marriage Maintenance: The Valentine's Day gift that keeps on giving
February 14, 2011
Written By: Trish Radke

Experienced marriage counselors at Catholic Charities say that one of the best gifts you can give your spouse this Valentine's Day is a gift that involves maintenance.
“Periodically, you have to get your car in for a tune up to make sure it stays running smoothly,” says Sharon Bandstra L.I.S.W., therapist at Catholic Charities. “Marriage is similar. Sometimes you need to ‘check in’ with your spouse which helps keep your relationship running smoothly.”
Counselors suggest several ways to “tune up” your marriage:
·         Make time for each other. Demands of children, work, extended family and other activities can make it hard to find time for your spouse. Making a special effort to spend time together will help maintain a healthy relationship.
·         Consider how your behaviors play a role in your relationship with your spouse. For example, ask yourself how you handle day to day stressors and then consider how the resulting conduct effects your relationship.
·         Consider talking through issues with a professional counselor. More and more couples are finding solace in speaking with counselors about small issues before they become larger.
Counselors also encourage couples to remember that all relationships have their ups and downs but that a little attention to maintenance can make a big difference.
The Catholic Charities Counseling Program is based on Bowen Family Systems Theory, a theory that assists families and individuals through the understanding and improvement of human relationships. The professional, licensed counseling staff, which includes a bilingual therapist, works with clients of all faiths regarding a number of issues, including marriage.
Insurance is accepted and for those whose coverage does not include marriage counseling (or for those without insurance), fees are based on income and family size.
Evening appointments are available. To schedule an appointment contact the Des Moines office at 515-244-3761 or the Council Bluffs office at 712-328-3086. Save to


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