Virtual Meeting for Couples: Build Friendship with Each Other

Sixth in a series of virtual meetings from ISU Extension and Outreach

September 18, 2020, 9:49 am | Anthony Santiago, David Brown

couple outdoors making selfie photo by Maksym Povozniuk/, Iowa – Friendship with each other serves as a strong foundation that will help couples weather any storm. That is the premise of Attach, the sixth in a series of virtual meetings to help couples elevate their relationship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Malisa Rader and Barb Dunn-Swanson, both human sciences specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will lead the virtual meeting Wednesday, Sept. 23, from 12:30 to 1 p.m. During this session, they will review some tools couples can immediately use to improve their relationship.

The information presented will be based on ELEVATE, a relationship education curriculum developed by the National Extension Relationship and Marriage Education Network.


“The foundation in any couple relationship is the friendship that you have with each other. You spend time together and do things as a team, find common interests and just enjoy each other’s company. As a couple, there is a sense of constant learning, experiencing and facing challenges together,” Rader said.

To say life is hectic under COVID-19 may be a huge understatement. However, couples who find time to work on their relationship every day through shared experiences and interactions may be better able to get through these challenging times. Even sharing five minutes daily to connect with each other in a variety of ways can show that couples are committed to each other, Rader said.

According to research, successful relationships tend to have at least five times as many positive interactions as negative ones. The key to maintaining the at least five positives to one negative ratio is intentionally noticing a partner’s “bid for connection” and accepting those bids.

“Even asking ‘How was your day?’ or ‘What would you like to do tonight?’ are great examples of bidding for connection,” Dunn-Swanson said.

No doubt, COVID-19 is a storm that many couples will have to weather. Stressors relating to the pandemic may make it difficult for couples to bid and accept bids for connection. In this lesson, Rader and Dunn-Swanson will help couples learn ways to make time to connect with each other and maintain their friendship.

Join Rader and Dunn-Swanson this Wednesday, September 23 at 12:30 p.m. CDT. To register, select the session listed in the Upcoming Events section at

Information about access to a unique Zoom room will be emailed to registered participants prior to each program.

Other resources

Iowa Concern, offered by ISU Extension and Outreach, provides confidential access to stress counselors and an attorney for legal education, as well as information and referral services for a wide variety of topics. With a toll-free phone number, live chat capabilities and a website, Iowa Concern services are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at no charge. To reach Iowa Concern, call 800-447-1985; language interpretation services are available. Or, visit the website,, to live chat with a stress counselor one-on-one in a secure environment. Or email an expert regarding legal, finance, stress, or crisis and disaster issues.

211 is a free, comprehensive information and referral line linking Iowa residents to health and human service programs, community services, disaster services and governmental programs. This service is collaborating with the Iowa Department of Public Health to provide confidential assistance, stress counseling, education and referral services related to COVID-19 concerns.

Photo credit: Maksym Povozniuk/

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