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Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014 4:30 am

Reconciliation Day was April 4 and many people around the world used it as a chance to mend broken relationships.

Covites were no different. After learning about the day for the first time, one local man called his estranged mother whom he hadn’t talked to in a decade.

The notion of reconciliation day is touted as a chance to make amends and re-establish relations. However, making up on a designated day doesn’t make everything automatically right. It takes good communication skills to keep relationships healthy, said Jeffrey Robbins, a licensed clinical social work and owner of Professional Counseling Services in Cove and Killeen.

When communicating, most people only get half of the meaning because they don’t really listen to what is being said, Robbins said.

“The most common communication mistake is to talk at someone rather than with them. We focus on what to say next or how to correct what’s being said, and we miss much of what’s really being communicated.”

Making a relationship work is about being and staying in love, said Cove resident Terri Deans, who has been married for 28 years.

“Husbands should never stop dating their wives and wives should never stop flirting with their husbands,” she said. “Play SHMILY (see how much I love you) games every day. Keep in mind that the two of you are on the same team.”

Another secret to great communication and a long marriage is putting the other person in front of yourself, said Leslie Lautenschlager, who has been married to her retired soldier for 24 years and has two teenagers at home.

“You have to be flexible and adaptable and resilient when you’re a military spouse and I think time apart helped us learn to communicate even better,” she said.

“Sometimes when we argued in the past we just talked it through.

“If that didn’t work we went back to talking again to find a different solution.”

One month after they married, her spouse was deployed for 12 months to Iraq. He later deployed two more times before retiring.

“Maybe because we had reverse roles at times ... that made our communication skills better,” she said. “I think the most important aspect of communication is having a support system. You have to find someone to talk to.”

Forgiveness is also important to communication and reconciliation, Robbins said. Forgiving others is not for the other person’s benefit.

“It’s a benefit to the self when you forgive,” Robbins said.

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