Creating a stable family is an important step in human life and this requires time and conscious choice. In order to encourage couples on the way to building a successful family, National Marriage Week has been held in Bulgaria for 11 years now. Many health professionals are involved in helping families with advice and initiatives in the framework of the event, which is international and includes 25 countries. It is held in the period February 7 to February 14.
Difficulties in relationships are often due to factors we can change, as well as to others beyond our control. The Covid pandemic has been our constant companion for two years now and the emergence of the virus has revealed many unresolved issues in the family and in human relationships in general. It has also made people pay more attention to their mental health.
According to family therapist and consultant Dinka Koleva, the epidemic is a crisis that each member of society experiences in a different way.
"This crisis is much more severe for people who have already experienced some kind of losses and this inevitably affects the couple," she says. “Despite the crisis we are experiencing, it is important to be open and show understanding when our partner is going through a complex internal situation. It is also good to focus on the things we have available, as improvement is within our power.”
Children have become one of the scapegoats of anti-epidemic restrictions. Online learning has deprived them of direct contact with their classmates and friends and alienation has had a negative effect on their psyche. It is here that the role of parents is decisive, Dinka Koleva says and adds:
"The personal example from the parent is very important," the therapist says. “If they cope with life's challenges with dignity, this makes them a hero for the child. Children perceive this easier in comparison to recommendations or advice. It is also important for children to learn to recognize their feelings, to be able to control them and to turn negative ones into something constructive. One of these feelings is aggression."
It is also a vital force, Dinka Koleva says.
"If a person has their own hobbies or methods to master aggression, they can react in a much more balanced way during conflict situations at home.”
It is no coincidence that the cases of domestic violence have been rising and growth was reported immediately after the introduction of the first national lockdown on March 13, 2020. Over 3,000 signals were sent to the Ministry of Interior last year.
The inability of people to build stable and lasting relationships is also one of the challenges that couples and families face these days. But there is a working approach:
"In order to have a satisfying and mature relationship, it is important to build a similar relationship with ourselves first. We need to get to know and develop our strengths, to overcome our fears and weaknesses. It is also important to learn to be happy even when we are not in a relationship. The trap that people most often fall into is that of high expectations for happiness at all costs and the notion that it is a relationship that will provide this happiness.”
English: Alexander MarkovPhotos: EPA/BGNES, private library
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