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Pandemic pressure: how a New Braunfels couple's bond is stronger than ever

The duo believes honest, open communication is what has kept their relationship on a positive path.

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — Many have been put to the test with the pandemic throwing us all a curveball.

Despite it all, a New Braunfels couple says their bond is stronger than ever.

“I can honestly say that was like a rainbow, fireworks,” said Shelagh Denton. “I just knew I didn't want her to disappear.”

Shelagh and her wife, Lisa, have been together a decade and married for five years.

“I always say that she rounds my corners and I square up hers, because I'm a little harder and she's much softer,” said Lisa.

This Valentine’s Day, they’ll celebrate their relationship with a road trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The town is where they spent their honeymoon.

They had booked a cruise, but the pandemic changed those plans.

“We're more about the memory than we are about the stuff and that's part of the reason for our trip,” said Lisa.

Like the rest of the world, the Denton’s lives look a lot different than last year.

Both essential workers, the ladies have made sacrifices to keep each other safe.

“Initially, we actually separated in the house because we have to be able to work and we wanted to protect each other,” said Lisa.

The duo believes honest, open communication is what has kept their relationship on a positive path.

“I tell her in the morning when I wake up, ‘today, I choose you and today I choose to be happy,’” said Lisa. “There's a lot to be said for having a positive mindset right from the get go.”

“The key for any sort of relationship, and what you don't see a lot of people doing now, is talking,” said Shelagh. “The whole pandemic thing, I think, has put so much pressure on people to really get to know each other.  And I don't know that everybody's got the tools to do so.” 

And that’s ok. There are professionals for that.

Tarah Glover is one of them. She is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Parent Child Interaction Therapist. As a therapist and founder of Relational Family Therapy in New Braunfels, her specialty and passion is therapy for couples, families, and children. She has received specialized training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy and works with couples to build deeper connections and gain a better understanding of their partner.

“Counseling can help you through really tough times, but it can help you through the day to day as well,” said Glover. ‘Therapy can only provide you with additional tools in your tool belt.”

Over the last year, she’s seen clients looking for traditional help and now, how to navigate life in a pandemic.

“The biggest recommendation I can give to couples and families out there is spending uninterrupted quality time with each other,” she said. 

Even committing to five minutes a day can make a big impact.

“Until we ask them the questions that allow them to discuss and talk about what they're actually experiencing, we may not ever really know what they're going through,” said Glover.

Lisa and Shelagh add that they treat every day like Valentine’s Day and know one day they’ll get to take that cruise.

“I'm sure that there are other couples who have a unique relationship as well, but I think for Lisa and I, we're just so blessed,” said Shelagh.