The Creighton VIP Center held their second annual Healthy Relationships Panel, in which several members of Creighton’s faculty and their spouses discussed how they have established healthy relationships over the years and shared advice to students on how to maintain such relationships.  

The panel consisted of Sangeetha Kumar, assistant director for student care and outreach; Guy McHendry, director of Magis Core curriculum; Caitlin Feldmann, business career center advisor; Whitney Van De Graaff, instructor in the college of nursing; and Amanda McHendry, associate director for outreach, as well as their partners and children.  

The main topics of discussion were how to make time for one’s partner, how to support and grow with one’s partner, how to set boundaries in a relationship and how to manage conflict in a relationship.  

Throughout the evening and each topic, the group seemed to always return to one major point: communication. 

“If you communicate early in the day what your schedules are, you can find bits and pieces of time to spend together,” said Caitlin’s husband Nathan. “At night, we spend 10 minutes just talking how we are doing and how our days were.” 

Sangeetha stressed that when managing a conflict in relationship, communication is key.  

“After the conflict is over, talk to each other,” she said. “Ask each other: what can I do better moving forward?” 

Another important point from the discussion was allowing one’s partner to do things individually.  

“When you do things separately it makes the relationship richer,” said Sangeetha. “You can come together after your individual time and talk about the things you did.”  

Whitney and her husband Joel extended on this point while also talking about the role of support when it comes to a partner’s individual interests.  

“If Joel wants to get a workout in, I’ll pick up a little bit with the kids,” said Whitney. “And if Whitney has had a stressful week with work, then I’ll take over,” said Joel.  

Guy rounded out the discussion with a powerful statement on the nature of healthy relationships. “Relationships have to be dynamic,” he said. “There is no such thing as one role in a relationship.” 

While the group carried out their discussion, members would occasionally scoot to the back of the room to take care of their young children in attendance. The dynamic of both partners holding a meaningful conversation while also multitasking as parents was a testament to the healthy relationships they have created - and made for quite the noisy conference room.

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